Review: Wines of MacMurray Ranch, Late 2013 Releases

We just covered MacMurray Ranch a few months ago, now three more bottlings are hitting the market. Thoughts follow. 2012 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris Russian River Valley – Lots of green beans on the initial nose, but this fades a bit as the wine warms up. It ultimately reveals lemon, some pineapple, and some mango…

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Review: 2010 Cliff Lede Landslide Fire Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

Ultra-high-end California producer Cliff Lede produces this limited edition bottling, but don’t go looking for the name on the label. Landslide Fire takes center stage. Cliff Lede is relegated to the tiny type on the back label copy. A bland of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec from Napa’s Stags Leap District, this is…

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Review: Macchu Pisco (Original)

We’re stepping back here. In 2011 we reviewed Macchu Pisco’s “La Diablata” bottling, which is made from a blend of grapes in the “acholado” style. This is the Peruvian company’s original pisco, a single-varietal bottling made from Quebranta grapes. It’s a solid pisco, mild but traditional with plenty of musky funk on the nose. Breathe…

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Two for the Road: Mobile Drinking Gear from NiteIze and Hydro Flask

Camping, road-tripping, picnicking… there’s always an excuse to take your favorite tipple on the road. Here are a couple of gadgets designed to make that easier. Nite Ize makes a series of safety-oriented products, including this bunch of unique bottle openers. The S-Biner series is a carabiner and bottle opener in one. Designs vary, from…

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Review: Hangar 24 Oktoberfest, Polycot, and Essence

The seasonals from Hangar 24 just do not stop coming. Here’s three more for summer and fall. Hangar 24 Oktoberfest Fall Lager – Can Oktoberfest be upon us already? This classic Oktoberfest-style brew is malty with plenty of chewy caramel to go around. Very light baking spice notes — think gingerbread — interact with the…

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Review: Pau Maui Hawaiian Vodka

It’s hard not to fall in love with something made in Hawaii. Macadamia nuts. Hula girls. All the good stuff comes from these cool little islands. So does vodka. Pau isn’t the first vodka I’ve had that’s made in Hawaii, but it is the first I’ve encountered that’s made from Hawaiian pineapples. Blended with Hawaiian…

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Review: Aga Vie Esprit D’Agave

What is it about the French and tequila? First Given blends tequila with lime juice and grape juice in Cognac, France, and now there’s Aga Vie, a commingling of blanco tequila and Cognac that have been (re-)distilled together into one oddball spirit. (This distillation removes whatever color is left behind, namely from the Cognac.) Describing…

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Review: Wines of Domaines Paul Mas, 2011 Vintage

Domaines Paul Mas hails from France’s Languedoc region, the largest winemaking region in the world, where a nearly infinite variety of wines can be found. Languedoc wines are also often very inexpensive, as the price tags on the three wines tasted below will confirm. 2011 Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir Saint Hilaire Vineyard – The…

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