Getting The Whiskey’s ‘Backstory’

September 2, 2014

A review of the Ramot Naftaly Duet 2010 and a revisit to High West whiskies.

We are often asked why we do not assign a numerical score to the wines and spirits we review. After all, it is a process employed by many of the most popular reviewers including the eminent Robert Parker, the glossy Wine Spectator and the high-end British publication Decanter, which bills itself as the “World’s Best Wine Magazine.” It is easy to understand the appeal since we all grow up in an educational system that rates our performance via numeric scores and grades. Numeric scores invariably call to mind logical precision and objective truth, that as sure as 2+2=4, a score of 98=a great wine…but does it really? Is it possible to objectively distinguish between, say, a wine rated 91 points versus one rated 93, or maybe an 87 versus a 92?

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Fraud In The Wine Business

August 25, 2014

The finale of a high-profile wine-fraud along with a review of the Barkan Assemblage Tzafit 2010 and a look at Irish Whiskies including a review of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.

A few weeks ago, wine fraudster Rudy Kurnaiwan was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $20 million, according to The New York Times. The court also required him to pay more than $24 million in restitution to the victims of his elaborate wine forgery scheme. Once his prison sentence has been completed, Kurnaiwan will also be deported to his native Indonesia. All things considered, this seems a fair verdict to us.

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Mix Wine Or Gin With Fruit And It’s Summertime

August 18, 2014

Some summer cocktail suggestions.

Summertime is always fun. The abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs inspire us to shake up and expand our cooking, and also our drinking. Summer wine cocktails may seem sometimes to be a bit of work, but are so worth the effort. There are, obviously, numerous recipes in books and online, but summer means not having to do any homework (right?), so instead try releasing your personal creativity and dream up your own concoctions.

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The Ideal Wine For Pesto

August 13, 2014

A review of the Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and some news about American whiskies including Jim Beam.

One of us has a summer garden that has produced an abundance of basil. A leafy herb initially cultivated in India, basil migrated both west and east becoming a featured component of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. There are many different types with the “sweet” variety customarily featured in Italian dishes while the more pungent Thai, lemon and “holy” basils are utilized in Asia.

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A Wine For Those Lazy, Hazy Days Of Summer

July 31, 2014

A review of the Domaine Pascal Bouchard “Le Classique” Chablis 2009 and a look at Tequila.

There are few greater pleasures than sitting on a beach toward the end of a lazy summer evening with a great bottle of wine to share among friends. Crisp, refreshing white wines are ideal for such occasions, such as a lovely Chablis.

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Start Summer With Sangria

July 14, 2014

Summer libation suggestions including various Sangria recipes and some Ruby Port based cocktails.

Sangria is a refreshing accompaniment to summer parties. A mixture of wine, fruit, sugar and traditionally a bit of brandy, Sangria reportedly originated on the Spanish peninsula where it was named after the word for blood-letting, due to its distinctive deep red color. It remains hugely popular in Spain and Portugal, and as of this year is even protected under EU statute so that Sangria from Spain or Portugal will be allowed to be bottled and labeled as such – but why buy it pre-made? So much more fun to make it yourself.

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Wine For The Fourth

June 30, 2014

Reviews of the Joseph River Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot 2009, Agua Dulce Winery Zinfandel 2010 and 2 rye whiskies, the Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye Whisky and Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Small Batch Rye.

Celebrating the Fourth of July typically involves fireworks and outdoor grilling or even barbeque (cooking with smoke rather than fire). On the grilling front, one of the great customary summer foods, and one of our favorites, is the hamburger. While many believe that beer is the ideal accompaniment to burgers, we – not surprisingly – recommend cracking open a bottle of red wine as well, if not instead.

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Yeast Is Not Only For Bread

June 2, 2014

A review of the Dalton Wild Yeast Fermentation Reserve Viognier 2012 and Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon.

Among the many factors that determine a wine’s quality, perhaps the least appreciated by most consumers is the role of yeast. It is these microscopic, single-cell organisms that convert the sugars found in grapes (and grains) into alcohol and carbon dioxide via the process of fermentation. There are numerous different yeast strains utilized in winemaking and each subtype has its own specific efficiency and impact upon the wine’s ultimate flavors.

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Kosher Wine With Biblical Roots

May 22, 2014

A review of the Abarbanel Cabernet-Merlot Blend, Batch 58, 2011 and a revisit to Jim Beam whiskies.

The Abarbanel Wine Company traces its family roots from the biblical King David to Don Isaac Abarbanel, the leader of Spanish Jewry at the time of the 1492 expulsion. Born in Lisbon, Don Isaac was a scholar, philosopher and prodigious author who also served as treasurer for Portuguese King Alfonso V, and subsequently for the Spanish royal family. He lent large sums to the Spanish throne during their battles with the Moors, and their reluctance to repay him likely contributed to their decision to expel the Jews at the war’s end.

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