Review: 2012 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon California

How good can an “everyday” Cabernet Sauvignon that costs 12 bucks possibly be? Not bad at all, actually. Avalon, courtesy of Purple Wine Co., is a very straightforward wine, but it avoids the problems of being overly sweetened and overly alcoholic (at 13.8% abv). Instead what we get is a slightly peppery, slightly chocolatey wine…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Twilight Summer Ale (2014)

We last encountered Deschutes’ summer seasonal way back in 2010. Time for an update! This warm-weather sipper toes the line between malty and hoppy, using Amarillo hops to bolster what might otherwise become a bit muddy on the palate. Up front the American Blonde-style ale offers some light notes of roasted apples and hazelnut, eventually…

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Review: Tomatin 12, 14, 15, and 18 Years Old, and 1988 Vintage

Highlands-based Tomatin offers a classic experience of Scotland in a glass — even though it is actually owned by Japan’s Takara Shuzo company. Tomatin is shaking up the brand of late, introducing a new 14 Year Old expression and a 1988 Vintage expression to the core line (while the latter lasts, I presume), while discontinuing both the…

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Review: Our/Berlin Vodka

What happens when one of the biggest vodka producers in the world decides to go hyperlocal? Our/Vodka, that’s what. Absolut’s audacious Our/Vodka project, 3 1/2 years in the making, began rolling out earlier this year: The idea, to produce a number of “glocal” renditions of the iconic spirit. It works like this. Absolut selects a city, where…

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Review: New England Distilling Gunpowder Rye

Based in Portland, Maine, craft distillery New England Distilling is likely the easternmost distilling operation in the United States (correct me if I’m wrong). It’s a producer of several spirits, including this increasingly popular and available rye. We’ve got more NED reviews in the works, but meanwhile take a gander at Gunpowder, reportedly “inspired by” a…

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Review: 2012 Pacific Rim Riesling and Vin de Glaciere

Based in Washington’s Columbia Valley, Pacific Rim is obsessively focused on Riesling. In fact, that’s all they make, in nearly a dozen varieties. Today we look at two of the winery’s single vineyard bottlings, both made from organic grapes. 2012 Pacific Rim Riesling Organic – Not your typical, high-acid, new world Riesling! Initially quite sweet, this honeyed…

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Review: 2011 Franciscan Estate Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

The ubiquitous Franciscan’s 2011 general-release red wines are hitting the market now. Thoughts follow on the merlot and cabernet sauvignon. 2011 Franciscan Estate Merlot Napa Valley – Strongly herbal nose, unusual for merlot, with notes of root beer and licorice. The body is fruitier with currants and blackberry notes, but also adds hints of licorice,…

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Drinkhacker Reads – 06.18.2014 – New Diageo Distillery Inching Ahead

Diageo’s new $115 million dollar distillery cleared a major hurdle yesterday, receiving approval from the Shelby (KY) planning commission to proceed with construction. However, this didn’t come without a fight, as many local residents expressed concern about environmental hazards, wildlife protection, and property values. It should also be noted that Shelby County is a “mixed”…

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