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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Moscow Mule with SwigSafe

SwigSafe is a tumbler designed to show you your pour so you can safely enjoy your adult beverages and monitor your intake to prevent binge drinking. You can use it for mixing protein shakes and monitoring your daily water intake as well.

It's hard to get a photo of the embossed features on the side, but up along the side are measurements. It counts ounces up to 16. And it also shows you how much one shot of liquor is (1 1/2 ounces) with a picture of a shot, then two, then three. Same with wine; one glass (five ounces) and then two. And of course the same with beer at one glass (12 ounces). I mean, I think that's pretty cool. The shape is nice too, because a crisp and refreshing pilsner in that thing would not look out of place. 

I used mine to make a Moscow Mule. At first I used the measurements on the side to make this exact recipe and then I ended up just dumping the rest of the ginger beer and vodka in there because rules are meant to be broken.

4 ounces of Ginger Beer
1 1/2 ounces of Vodka
1/6 of an ounce of  Lime Juice

I think it's a neat product to have available, especially for cocktails or just to measure your booze. I personally wouldn't drink wine out of it but hey,  I know plenty of people who would. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava

Vilarnau is near the city of Barcelona. They've been making Cava since 1982 but their current vineyards were acquired in 1990 when they moved locations. This is the second of two wines by Vilarnau that I'm reviewing this week: First was their Brut Rosé and now it's their Brut Reserva!

On the nose it's got a pleasant yeasty breadiness with green apples, lemon, vanilla and flowers. It's zippy on the palate with a sharp acidity and flavors of apples, lemon, and yellow pears. It finishes with an increase in floralness and a slight touch of sugar. This isn't a bubbly to sit there and analyze to death. It's fun and delicious, and its affordability makes it perfect for any kind of celebration. New Year's Eve, maybe? HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!

Price: $14
Rating: 3/5 = Satisfying (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was provided free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Vilarnau Rosé Reserva Cava

Vilarnau is near the city of Barcelona. They've been making Cava since 1982 but their current vineyards were acquired in 1990 when they moved locations. This is the second of two wines by Vilarnau that I'm reviewing this week: First I'm reviewing their Brut Rosé and on Sunday it's their Brut Reserva!

This rosé is 90% Trepat and 10% Pinot Noir. It's salmon in color and on the nose there's aromas of strawberries, lemon, whipped cream, and little bit of peach and toast. It's light and foamy on the palate with a bright acidity and soft tannin. All of the aromas on the nose return on the palate to create quite a delicious sparkling rosé for the price.

I absolutely recommend this to anybody looking to drop $14 on a pink bubbly!

Price: $14
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry

Cream Sherry is an Oloroso style Sherry made to be a bit sweater, and I gotta be honest, I've never even thought about ever trying Harveys Bristol Cream. I always just assumed it wasn't all that good. So man was I surprised to find that I actually really like the stuff! For the price it's quite an enjoyable Sherry and now I feel like I've deprived myself of having an affordable and serviceable Sherry all of these years! It's smooth and not too syrupy with a nice acidity that compliments the rest of the profile. There's aromas and flavors of caramel apples, raisins, prunes, and nuts, and it's got a long lasting sweet caramel-ly finish. Someone described this as "the holidays in a bottle" and I have to agree. If you've ignored Harveys like I have, maybe you should give it a shot. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everybody!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Noe Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Pedro Ximenez Aged 30 Years by González Byass

This Sherry made from sun dried Pedro Ximenez grapes uses the Solera system, so you're talking about many vintages blended into one, and the average age here is 30 years. Let's put that into perspective: In 1989 the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan. Sega Genesis cost $190. Batman changed superhero movies forever by making the film more about the secret identity than the superhero. The Alaskan Exxon Valdez oil spill happened. That famous picture of a protester standing in front of a tank in Beijing's Tiananmen Square was taken. "Look Away" by Chicago was the #1 song. Alright, enough of that. Let's drink some 30 year old Sherry.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Best of Fall 2019!

Today is the first day of Winter so here are the Top 5 wines that I reviewed and rated this Fall!
Deciding on 5 through 3 was not an easy task because I had to choose between six wines that I rated 4.5 in price vs quality!

#5. Masottina Prosecco Treviso Brut

Masottina Prosecco Treviso Brut
Region: Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
Review Release: September 26th, 2019

man, this is some awesome Prosecco for $14. It's got a rather floral nose with white flowers, fruit aromas of  lemon and apples, and a little bit of honey. There's flavors of pears, apple, lemon, and herbs. On the midpalate it's light and crisp and fluttery, but then it goes ahead and finishes creamy as the carbonation froths up in your mouth.

This is probably the best deal for a Prosecco in this price range that I've had in a long time. Elegant yet still fun, bright and happy, and just good quality for the price.


Price: $14
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

#4. Yalumba "The Y Series" Viognier 2018

Yalumba "The Y Series" Viognier 2018Region: South Australia, Australia
Review Release: November 1st, 2019

The color of the wine is a pale yellow with a greenish hue. There's a lot of honeysuckle and vanilla on the nose, but there's also aromas of apricots, lychee, lemon zest, and menthol. On the palate it's light bodied with a sharp acidity and a bit of an oily mouthfeel. There's flavors of apricot, tart lime, and banana. Then it finishes with a mixed bowl of tropical fruits and a drop of sweetness.

This is fantastic, just a happy wine, and an outstanding deal for $12. And it's even better with food; lobster, baked scallops, chicken piccata, ham, or even hot dogs! You know what? I really think this wine would make an outstanding pair with hot dogs! Let's try it!


Price: $12
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Bogle Phantom Red 2015Region: California
Review Release: November 24th, 2019

So the color of the wine is freakin' purple. And man, I loooove the nose! There's black cherries, blueberries, chocolate, black licorice, toasty oak, and like a drop of black olive juice. I need to go change my underwear. It's medium bodied with a semi-rich mouthfeel with dusty tannins and moderate acidity. On the midpalate there's flavors of blackberries, black cherries, vanilla, mocha, maple, and a little bit of dirt. There's a savoriness and heat to the long lasting finish, with flavors of blackberries, mocha, and zippy raspberries.

The Phantom Red is one of those popular $20 wines that sells extremely well, especially among casual wine consumers who really don't know know all that much about wine. So it's easy to think that it's just overrated, overpriced, and overproduced. To that thought I say this: There's a lot of Zinfandel characteristics in this wine. I hate Zinfandel. And I think this is killer. 


Price: $20
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Panthera Russian River Chardonnay 2017Region: Russian River, Sonoma, California
Review Release: December 1st, 2019

It's light gold in color. The nose is dominated by vanilla, followed by pineapple, apple, butter, honey, and ginger. Damn I love the smell of oaky Chardonnay. On the palate it's full bodied with a rich mouthfeel and a bright acidity that lifts up the weight of the wine. There's flavors of vanilla, pineapple, apple, banana, and butter. Then it finishes with a thick coating in your mouth of apples and banana.

I'm still in love with this wine. It's oaky and buttery and hedonistic and gorgeous. And it's my wine pick of the month, so go get it!

Price: $45
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

#1. Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018

Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018
Region: McLaren Vale, Australia
Review Release: November 3rd, 2019

This is 100% Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia, and oh that color is straight up purple and it's beautiful! And what a wonderful jamminess this wine has! There's aromas of big juicy plums, grape jelly, lavender, vanilla bean, and black table pepper. And there's nothing subtle about any of those. On the palate it's medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel yet a grainy tannin and low acidity. The flavors imitate the nose and are just as big and juicy and expressive, and then it finishes lengthy and boozy and lustly.

Hell friggin yeah. Hell. Friggin. Yeah. I was expecting something with a bit more intricate, something a bit more French Syrahish in style, but this does not hold back from all the Australian Shiraz that it is and was really meant to be... and it's so goddamn good. It punches you right in the face and I love it.


Price: $33
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Terras Gauda Rías Baixas O Rosal 2018

The Terras Gauda winery was founded in the O Rosal Valley, within the territory encompassing the Rías Baixas Denomination of Origin, and their 160 hectares of vineyards are on granite, quartz, clay, and metamorphic schist soil.

This lovely lady that I have for review is 70% Albarino, 20% Caino Blanco, 10% Loureira, and it's got an ABV of 12.5%. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

T.W. Hollister & Co. Oso de Oro Vermouth and cocktails for the holidays!

I don't know about you but I feel like the holiday season is more about cocktails than anything else when it comes to adult beverages, so how about making some cocktails with domestic Vermouth from Santa Barbara, California?

Both of these artisan Vermouths by T.W. Hollister & Co. are excellent! The Red Vermouth is made with 19 botanicals including hummingbird sage, grapefruit peel, blood orange, vanilla bean, and ginger root. The Dry Vermouth is made with 12 botanicals including orange peel, wormwood, chamomile, rosehip, and hyssop.

I just made a basic Vodkatini and a basic Manhattan because that's just how I roll and they both turned out AMAZING! But here's some different cocktail recipes that are perfect for the holiday season:

1.0 oz - Lime Juice
0.5 oz - Giffard Elderflower Syrup
0.5 oz - Casoni Aperitivo 1814
1.0 oz - TWHc Dry Vermouth
1.0 oz - Hendrick's Midsummer Solstice Gin
Shaken; Garnish with Lime

2.0 oz - Glyph 85H Whiksey
1.0 oz - TWHc Red Vermouth
1.0 oz - L'Orgeat Almond Liqueur

1.0 oz - Hendrick's Midsummer Solstice Gin
1.0 oz - Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro
1.0 oz - TWHc Dry Vermouth
Stirred; Garnish with Lime

Check out the T.W. Hollister & Co. website and see if you can get your hands on these awesome Vermouths!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Pazo Pondal Albariño 2017

Pazo Pondal was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to protecting the environment with sustainability. "Our goal is to ensure that there is minimal risk of the wine’s aromatic and organoleptic properties being altered through exposure of the grapes to certain chemical products. We are seeking to obtain organic grapes in a sustainable and balanced manner, preserving the fertility of the soil and respecting the biodiversity of the environment. Everyone working for us and with us strives to achieve this sustainability objective." Read more about Pazo Pondal by clicking here.

Oh man, do I love Albariño! Maybe it's because I'm from Cape Cod and it goes so well with the local cuisine here. I really don't know anything about this one other than it's from 13 hectares of "Franco sandy and slightly acidic soil", and that it has a 13% ABV. So let's make this one quick and start drinkin'!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Fonseca BIN No. 27 Port

Honestly I love port all year round but it really does pair especially well with the holiday season. Fonseca is most known for their Vintage Port but their BIN 27 is their, for a lack of a better word, "introductory" non-vintage Ruby Port and it's consistently one of the best deals for the category that you can find almost anywhere. It's a deep dark crimson red with a full body, a lush mouthfeel, and a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. There's aromas and flavors of raisins, plums, blackberries, and licorice. Then the long lasting and sweet finish adds a bit of chocolate to the mix. Delicious and a great deal for a $21 port.

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Secastilla Viñedos Viejos de Altura Garnacha 2014

This is 100% Garnacha from the Guardia Miranda and Botiquero vineyards in Somontano, Spain. Pre-fermentation maceration lasted three days, and it went through a slow fermentation at 68°F. Then it saw ten months of aging in new French oak.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Night Shift Bennington Oatmeal Stout

Ah yes! More Night Shift! I love these guys and they're considered local to me as I live on Cape Cod and they're out of Everett, MA. Remember to support local, guys! The beer that they call Bennington is an oatmeal stout brewed with Dutch-processed cocoa and maple syrup and if that doesn't make you start drooling then I don't know what the fuck is wrong with you. And yeah, it's pretty goddamn awesome. It's black in color with a mocha brown head. I love all of the roasted malt that this beer has. For flavors the cocoa is really in the drivers seat while the coffee flavor from it being an oatmeal stout is its co-pilot, and the maple syrup is more of a side note that kicks up a bit on the finish and adds a nice thick coating of deliciousness that goes on forever. This is killer beer, my friends.

The can used was purchased by myself with my own money for purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine or beer or liquor reviewed follow this link.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Metz Road Riverview Vineyard Chardonnay

I've been really looking forward to opening this bottle since I got it! Metz Road specilizes in small-lot, single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from their estate Riverview Vineyard in the Salinas Valley of Monterey. To preserve the character of the Riverview Vineyard, they use sustainable farming practices and innovative winemaking techniques including on-site fermentations with wild yeast.

The 2017 Chardonnay is from clones Clone 4, Dijon 96, and Dijon 78. The fruit was hand-picked in the early morning, hand lugged, and gently pressed. Then the juice was placed into new French oak barrels within in a refrigeration unit, making for a long and cool barrel fermentation. After fermentation is complete, the wine is kept on its lees and aged in 100% French oak barrels (92% new) for 14 months and stirred regularly. The final blend comes from the best barrels, and the final ABV is 14.5%

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Mighty Squirrel Brewery Co. Velvet Moon Mocha Stout

My #1 weakness for beer is this: if it's got a space theme then I need to buy it because I'm a science nerd. But when it's a stout? BONUS! A coffee stout or a mocha stout? FUUUUUUUCK YEEEEESSSSS. Another great thing about this beer is that Mighty Squirrel is out of Waltham, Massachusetts, so this is a local beer for me and supporting your local businesses is always important. So it's a good thing that this mocha stout is fucking awesome, right? It's pretty much pitch black in color with a fluffy brown teddy bear colored head. It's malty (just how I like 'em) with aromas and flavors of coffee beans, chocolate milk, vanilla bean, and almonds. Full bodied but with an airy mouthfeel and an acidity that doesn't let those flavors feel too dark. For $12 you get four 16oz cans with a 7% ABV and it's everything that you want out of a mocha stout. This is a killer deal for an awesome beer.

The can used was purchased by myself with my own money for purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine or beer or liquor reviewed follow this link.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lion Tamer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

We all know that Hess has had that lion on their labels forever, and that's because it's been the family emblem forever. Expanding on that theme, they've started a line called The Lions Head, which is made up of the Panthera Chardonnay (my wine pick of the month), this Lion Tamer Cabernet, and a Lion Tamer Red Blend (which I'm not reviewing).

The 2017 Lion Tamer Cabernet Sauvigon is 81% Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Sirah, and 8% Malbec. It's actually called "Lion Tamer" because of that 8% Malbec. The grape has earned the nickname of "Lion Tamer" at Hess because of its ability to tame powerful tannin as a blender. Anyways, it was aged in 33% new French and American oak for 20 months, and it has a 14.6% ABV.

As Hess has found, Malbec has proven to work very well with California Cabernet when you add a splash or two... but Petite Sirah? I loooooove Petite Sirah but generally those Cabs with PS aren't all that varietally correct and just crowd pleasing fruit bombs taking advantage of the Cabernet Sauvignon name (same as when it's added to Pinot Noir). This one? Yeah, the PS is clearly there but I'm not even mad. This is outstanding.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Nomad Outland Whisky

This beautiful bottle is a blend of over 30 Scotch whiskies aged between 5 and 8 years old, which were blended and matured in Sherry butts in Scotland for three years. Then the whisky was shipped to Jerez,  Spain, where it spent one year in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks before being bottled. And oh man, it is FRIGGIN' AWESOME! There's raisins and honey and pears, a wonderful sweetness from the PX casks, and it's so goddamn smooth going down. This has just become one of my favorite whiskies, and for $32 it's an absolute steal! When this bottle is gone I'm going to have to find a way to get another one.

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine  or beer or liquor reviewed follow this link.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Panthera Russian River Chardonnay 2017, December Wine Pick

In case you missed my announcement in "Winding Things Down", the blog will be changing in 2020. I'll still be here and I'll still be posting, but I cannot continue to treat it like a second job. I'd like to spontaneously watch a movie with my wife at night without rushing to catch up to my own schedule here, ya know? I need some freedom and my nights back.

So reviews will all be more like the "quickies" I've been writing (which people seem to like more than my full reviews anyways) and I'm not going to try and keep it to certain days of the week that they're released. I'll post when I can, but I'm not going to worry about keeping a pace. Wine Pick of the Month will definitely still be a thing on the first of the month, though.

But this all doesn't start until next year (and maybe not until February, pending discussions on something special). So what's up with December? There's Scotch aged in Sherry casks, two stouts, a Port, another Californian Chardonnay other than this one, two wines from Riax Biax, cocktails with Oso de Doro, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Cream Sherry, and two Cavas for New Year's. Also, we gotta round up the best of the Fall!

My wine pick for the month is the 2017 vintage of Panthera Chardonnay, which is produced by Hess Family Wine Estates. The first vintage of Panthera was the 2016 vintage and I fell in love with it, and it remains the same with the 2017. It's 100% Chardonnay from R.R. and aged in 35% new French oak barrels for 18 months, and it has an ABV of 14.8% (!!!).

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