From Strength To Strength

March 1, 2012

alma3

A review of the Dalton Alma 2009 and two High West Distillery Whiskies.

“May you go from strength to strength” is one of the more common blessings. In the wine and spirits world, “strength” commonly refers to the sometimes controversial subject of alcohol content. In wine, too much alcohol can interfere with how well a wine pairs with food; in spirits, too much dilution interferes with one’s evaluation of that spirits’ character and flavor. Of course, “strength” can also refer to one’s appreciation for the artistry, bravery and longevity of a winery, distillery or brewery.

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South Africa Makes A Wine Comeback

February 23, 2012

Auchensoshan Bordeaux 1999

A look at the Backsberg Pinotage 2007 and the Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Wine Cask Matured, 11-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The re-entry of South Africa into the international community after the end of apartheid resulted in a new appreciation for that country’s wines. South Africa has been producing wines since 1659, and they were very much enjoyed in Europe until the 1800s when unfavorable tariffs and vineyard diseases decimated the industry. Recent investments for modernization and better viniculture practices have elevated South African wines to among the world’s best.

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Will Carignan Be The Varietal That Made Israeli Wine Famous?

February 16, 2012

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten

A review of the Recanati Reserve Carignan Kerem Ba’al 2009 and the Bruichladdich 10-year-old single malt Scotch Whisky.

Australia has Shiraz, Argentina is known for Malbec, Chile for Carmenere and in California Cabernet is king. Whether by design, regulation or chance, nearly every winegrowing region has “its” grape. It adds a level of distinctiveness and sets a local standard whereby newcomers can be evaluated.

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The Spiritual Side Of Wine

February 12, 2012

Angel's Envy

A review of the Or HaGanuz Namura Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Angel’s Envy American Whiskey.

When consumed appropriately, wine has been known to induce contemplative and even religious thought. Sometimes, as we’ll see shortly, it is exactly this sort of contemplative, religious thought that leads to the production of wine.

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Location, Location, Location

February 9, 2012

Barkan Altitude

A review of the Barkan Altitude +624 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Isle of Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

While there are many factors that can be manipulated to affect the quality of a wine, there is one fundamental aspect that cannot be changed: the place where the grapes are grown. The monks in France’s Burgundy region spent hundreds of years painstakingly characterizing and classifying the precise aspects of specific hillside plots in the Cote D’Or and the result is some of the world’s most profound wines. Matching the correct varietal to the local climate and geography is likely the most critical decision that will assure a winery’s success. It is exactly as the old the real estate adage goes: location, location, location.

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Napa Valley Family Produces Award Winning Wines

February 1, 2012

Meiomi Pinot Noir

A look at the Wagner Family wines.

The Wagner family has been making wines in California’s Napa Valley since 1915. Its first winery flourished until 1920 when it was closed by Prohibition, and the family turned to farming, eventually growing grapes and making wines at their home. In 1972, Chuck Wagner and his parents Charles and Lorna Belle, established the Caymus Vineyards winery, naming it for the 1836 land grant that included the area encompassing their farm.

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‘Sabbatical’ Salutations From Israel

January 25, 2012

Michter's American Whiskey

Reviews of the Yatir Forest 2008, the Michter’s U.S. No. 1 Small-Batch Bourbon, the Michter’s U.S. No. 1 Unblended American Whiskey and the Michter’s U.S. No. 1 Single-Barrel Straight Rye.

The story goes that when David Ben-Gurion was told by his scientific advisors that it would be impossible to plant trees in the northern Negev, he responded by getting new advisors. The result was Israel’s Yatir Forest, the 30-square-mile woodland along the southern slope of Mount Hebron. There are more than 4 million trees thriving in the Yatir Forest. Planted under the direction of Yosef Weitz and the Jewish National Fund, the Yatir Forest has become an international model of desert reclamation and ecologically healthy responses to climate change.

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“My Passion and Favorite Hobby”

January 18, 2012

Rachel Barrie Morrison Bowmore Scotch

A review of Chateau de Parsac 2010 and an interview with Rachel Barrie, the new Master Blender at Morrison Bowmore Distillers.

There are few names better known in the world of wine than Rothschild. Primarily a financial dynasty since the 1700s, the Rothschild family expanded into the wine business with the 1853 purchase of the Bordeaux estate Château Brane Mouton by Nathaniel de Rothschild who renamed it Château Mouton Rothschild. His father-in-law, Baron James bought the neighboring Château Lafite in 1868, thereby establishing a rivalry between the two grand estates that has lasted until this day.

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A Dominant Name in the World of Bourbon

January 11, 2012

Jim Beam Bourbon

A review of the Weinstock Petite Sirah 2010 and Jim Beam White Label Bourbon Whiskey.

There is nothing tiny about Petite Sirah. It is a bruiser of a grape that requires a deft hand to make it approachable. Now grown primarily in California, Australia and Israel, Petite Sirah was developed in France by crossing Sirah with the lesser known Peloursin. The grapes are smaller than other varietals which led to its name and a considerable amount of vineyard confusion when it eventually made its way to the U.S.

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