Review: Cune Rioja 2010 Crianza and 2013 Monopole

Cune, pronounced coo-nay, is a major producer of a range of Rioja wines. Alternately known as Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España (CVNE), Spain’s Cune dates back to 1879. Thoughts on two of its new releases follow. 2010 Cune Rioja Crianza – 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha Tinta and 10% Mazuelo. What a delightful little wine. Simple but full…

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Drinkhacker Reads – 06.09.2014 – Frozen Spirits

Smirnoff has announced the arrival of its newest travel-only expression. Smirnoff White will come in at about $35 for 1 liter and will feature Smirnoff’s new freeze filtering process, where the vodka is chilled below freezing point and then charcoal filtered. No exacting word on its release, but no doubt we’ll be seeing it at…

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Tasting the Wines of Hourglass Vineyard, 2014 Releases

I recently had the opportunity to attend a live event with Napa-based Hourglass Vineyard’s owner Jeff Smith and its new winemaker Tony Biagi. Before tasting through four of the winery’s current releases, the duo discussed the changes involved with switching winemakers, including their new approach to winemaking and their return to higher-acidity, more elegant winemaking as they…

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Review: Phraya Deep Matured Gold Rum

“Luxury” rum from Thailand. If the gold-clad bottle doesn’t tip you off, the emphasis is squarely on “luxury.” The name phraya means “high ranking” in Thai, and the rum is aged at least seven years before bottling. As with Tanduay, another Asian rum, it’s an exotic spirit. The nose has a cachaca-like intensity, filled with dark…

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Review: Starr Hill Whiter Shade of Pale Ale, Soul Shine (2014), and Little Red Roostarr (2014)

Three new brews from Starr Hill, arriving just in time for summer barbecues. Thoughts follow. Starr Hill Whiter Shade of Pale Ale White IPA – A hybrid of Belgian wheat beer and India Pale Ale, a bit like one of my current favorite brews, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’. Made with wheat and two-row malt along…

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Review: 2 Wines from the International Wine of the Month Club

Wine of the Month Clubs are legion, but if you want to get started with one that offers a pretty broad range of unusual (yet well curated) wines, perhaps you could do worse than one of the originals, the International Wine of the Month Club. The focus here is on imported wines, with selections coming…

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The A-List – May 2014

Howdy and 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 n unbearably useful, printer-friendly graphic you may take along during your next trip to the store. This month brings a wide variety of options and price points from which…

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Review: Husky Vodka

Imported from Siberia, this new vodka’s bottle is imprinted with a dog paw pressed into the glass. It’s distilled from (unspecified) grain and distilled five times before bottling. But is this vodka ruff? Er, rough? Ahem. Hey, the company donates $1 from each bottle sold to local dog rescue shelters, so your martinis are helping…

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