“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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The “Book” on European Vintages

January 4, 2012

Glen Garioch Scotch

A review of Appalina Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and several Glen Garioch whiskies.

The rules governing European wine production are almost Talmudic in their complexity. The regulations concern all aspects of wine-making including the technigues permitted, the amount of land that can be used to grow grapes, the specific varietals allowed in each region and what words and information can appearr on the labels.

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Bubble Trouble Turns Into Elegant Sparklers

December 29, 2011

Pol Roger White Foil

A sparkling wine review including the Pol Roger Brut Reserve “White Foil,” the Mionetto, Lunetta, Voveti and Lamberti proseccos, JJ Vincent Cremant, Champalou Vovray Brut, Trapiche Extra Brut, and the J Vineyards Brut Rose and their 25th Anniversary Brut.

Bubbles in wine were once considered a fault, especially when the increased pressure caused the bottles to explode. The early Greeks attributed the presence of bubbles in wine to either astrological influences or malevolent spirits. It is likely that the French monk credited for “discovering” sparkling wine, Dom Perignon, was trying to find a way to prevent the bubbles from occurring. And it is equally likely that the development of stronger glass bottles by the English and their use of cork stoppers is what led to the subsequent success of the French Champagne region.

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A Journey To The Isle Of Scotch

December 28, 2011

A review of Hagafen Cuvee de Noirs 2007 and the Laphroaig 10 year old Single- Malt Scotch.

Sparkling wines are ideal for festivities. Their bright flavors and acidity make them perfect pairing partners for numerous cuisines including sushi, cheese, chicken, fish and dessert. In fact, they are so versatile that it seems a shame to relegate them only to celebrations.

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A Toast to Drinking No Wine Before Its Time

December 21, 2011

ardbeg Alligator

A review of Capcanes Peraj Ha’abid 2008, the Glenmorangie Signet and the Ardbeg Alligator.

While it is true that most wine is meant to be consumed within a few years after its release, there are many wines that are created with aging in mind. In general, these wines have markedly noticeable tannins – the chemical compounds from the grape stems, seeds and skins that influence the wine’s color, structure and ultimately its aging ability.

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The Miracle of the Scotch Filled Menorah

December 14, 2011

Tullibardine Whisky

A review of the O’Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and the Tullibardine Aged Scotch Whisky.

The rituals associated with wine are nearly as numerous as any religious service. Opening, decanting, swirling, sniffing, tasting, and even spitting follow established patterns and recognized norms. Developed to enhance once sensory appreciation of wine, they have achieved a level of dogma that instills near-paralyzing fear into the uninitiated.

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Stress: Bad for Humans but Good for Grapes

December 7, 2011

Johnnie Walker Double Black

A review of the Teal Lake Special Reserve Shiraz 2009 and the Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black Blended Scotch Whiskies.

One of the interesting paradoxes of winemaking is that stressed grapes make excellent wines. Nutrient poor soils, minimal water, and wide temperature variations stimulate the vines to produce intensely flavorful fruit. With careful vineyard management and talented winemakers these grapes can produce some very special wines.

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The News on Jews and Booze

November 30, 2011

Glen Grant

The history of the Washington DC wine and liquor trade along with a review of some Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

According to Buddy Berman, Jews have been intimately involved in Washington D.C.’s wine and liquor business since the beginning of the 20th century. Buddy knows from where he speaks. Besides nearly 40 years in the drinks industry, he is also the son and grandson of Prohibition era bootleggers who supplied hooch to the thirsty citizens of the Nation’s capital.

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