Review: 2011 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

In contrast to the more austere, iconic Calistoga bottling, a lighter style of Cab is also available from Chateau Montelena this year, a rare, fresh Cabernet that you can actually enjoy with warm weather, fresh and lively at just 13.4% abv. Fresh strawberry and light vanilla cookie notes dominate — altogether unusual for a Napa Cabernet.…

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Review: Arteis & Co. Vintage Brut Champagne – 1999 Brut and 2002 Extra Brut

Arteis is a small French producer of Champagne “micro-cuvees.” The company made its big introduction to the U.S. market in New York last year. Now it’s making more inroads to the U.S., mainly in restaurant markets. We sampled two of the four Arteis vintages now on the market; both are well-aged Champagnes that have just…

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Review: Oryza Vodka and Oryza Gin

Donner-Peltier Distillers, the Louisiana-based company behind the Rougaroux line of rums, has a little bit of everything in its stable including, of course, two white spirits: Oryza Vodka and Oryza Gin. Oryza Vodka is distilled from local rice, 17 times, they say, in a copper (column) still. The vodka has a rustic quality to the…

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Review: William Wolf Pecan Bourbon

William Wolf Bourbon is made in Holland of all places, and it’s the only product under this curious brand so far. It’s made from American bourbon and infused with natural flavors — but otherwise we know almost nothing about the product except that there’s a cartoon wolf playing a banjo on the label. Presumably this…

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Review: Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon 2014 Edition

September is here, which means the second of Four Roses’ annual limited releases have arrived. The 2014 Limited Edition Small Batch release from 4R is a vatting of four different bourbon recipes: 13 year old OBSV, 12 year old OESV, 11 year old OBSF, and 9 year old OBSK. Three of those four, the OB…

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Review: Brockmans Intensely Smooth Premium Gin

Never mind the double negative in the name, that’s a lot of superlatives to put on the label before you ever tell anyone what the product is. “Intensely Smooth Premium Gin?” That’s a little like saying you have the “Absolutely Tastiest Expensivest Whiskey.” Maybe this bottle is working a little too hard and it ought to…

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Review: Elijah Craig Single Barrel Bourbon 23 Years Old

Following on its Elijah Craig Single Barrel 21 Year Old expression, Heaven Hill is jumping straight to 23 years old for this increasingly improbable yet clearly popular series. I guess 22 was an unlucky number. Old bourbon, living in the shadow of Pappy Van Winkle, remains a dominating force in the whiskey business. But with so…

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The A-List – August 2014

Welcome to this month’s edition of the A-List, where we look back at the best of last month’s reviews and ratings and compile them into a really useful, printer-friendly graphic you may take along during your next trip to the store. There’s plenty of great offerings this month, and as we turn the bend into…

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