Sunday, April 15, 2007

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyEvan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon is the first and only vintage-dated Single Barrel Bourbon. Like a fine wine, each bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon contains a vintage date telling the exact day it was put in an oak barrel to age. Every year, a new vintage of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage is released to critical acclaim. The 1990 Vintage was the first Bourbon to be awarded "Whiskey of the Year" by The Spirit Journal. The 1991 Vintage was awarded "Domestic Whiskey of the Year" by The Malt Advocate and "Spirit of the Year" by Wine & Spirits. Most recently, the 1992 Vintage was named "Spirit of the Year" by Food & Wine and "Best Bottling of 2001" by Wine Enthusiast.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Penderyn Scotch (Welsh)...Long Time Coming

The distillery is located in the village of Penderyn, in the southern reaches of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The water used for the whisky is pumped from a spring under the distillery. The barley-wash mash that gets distilled comes from Brains Brewery in nearby Cardiff.It's a delightful comeback story, but the whisky still has to be good. And it is. It goes through three to four years of aging in barrels that once stored bourbon and six months of finishing in Madeira casks. Penderyn's taste is cleaner and slightly more mineral than its competitors to the north and west. The undertones, no doubt helped by the Madeira finishing, are closer to toffee, dried fruit, and light wood, with a hint of spice. Its lightness makes it ideal for drinking straight up.Single-malt sales have been climbing for the past decade, and established distillers of both single-malt and blended whiskies have been creating a dizzying number of versions to justify higher prices and satisfy more demanding palates. Penderyn, available in 16 states for about $70 per bottle, has an advantage: It's truly one of a kind, complete with a history lesson only a Welshman could properly teach.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CHOPIN vodka 'Another of the 10 Best Vodkas'

Country of origin: Poland Distilled from: Potatoes Distillation: Distilled four times Flavor profile: Odorless with a very subdued flavor profile. Round and full in the mouth Cool bottle rating: 8/10 Most overblown promotional puffery: "Chopin is an authentic experience in the Polish tradition." Price: $32

BORU Vodka 'Another of the 10 Best Vodkas'

Country of origin: Ireland Distilled from: A variety of grain Distillation: Quadruple distilled, charcoal filtered Flavor profile: Subtle, very smooth with a round, full mouth feel Cool bottle rating: 6/10 Most overblown promotional puffery: Mercifully free of flowery rhetoric though what an 11th-century Irish king, after whom it is named, has to do with vodka I don't know. Price: $18

Friday, March 30, 2007

Belvedere Vodka One of the Best 10

Country of origin: PolandDistilled from: Rye Distillation: 4 times, charcoal filteredFlavor profile: Smooth, subtle and refined with a hint of botanicals Cool bottle rating: 8/10 Most overblown promotional puffery: "Following traditions dating back over 600 years, Belvedere is handcrafted in small batches." That's 4.5 million handcrafted liters. Web: Price: $32

Geyser Peak Winery

Geyser Peak Winery's image is of a friendly, good-value place. Some of the wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc are good value. The tasting room is not.
Because multiple tastings are available, you could pay $25 and still not taste all the wines that you want. The staff is intermittently friendly but not particularly helpful.
That's a shame because Geyser Peak is an interesting place.
Geyser Peak Winery was founded in 1880. It's now owned by Illinois-based Fortune Brands, which also makes Titleist golf balls and Jim Beam whiskey, but its ownership history reflects the booms and busts of the wine industry -- the winery went bankrupt in 1908 and again in 1945.
In 1982, the winery, then owned by Stroh Brewery Co., was making gross amounts of 4-liter wine boxes when it was bought by Santa Rosa entrepreneur Henry Trione. Trione changed the focus to quality wines and sold a share of the company to Australian wine giant Penfolds in 1989. Penfolds imported Australian winemaker Daryl Groom to shape up the wines.
But Penfolds itself was sold the following year, and the company that bought it sold its share in Geyser Peak back to Trione. Fortune Brands bought the company from Trione in 1998; Trione now sells grapes from his vineyards to Geyser Peak.
Perhaps corporate changeovers have removed the personal connection. Groom and winemaker Mick Schroeter still make good wines, but the company could do a much better job of presenting them.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne

The wineries of Champagne have spent centuries building a reputation for fine sparkling chardonnay wines, and Veuve Clicquot is among the rare French wineries that have mastered the art of branding recently. Unfortunately, few wineries control their distribution -- Veuve Clicquot is indeed somewhat of an exception -- resulting in marketing budgets and brand positioning strategies that often shoot off

in an unfocused cacophony. Even Veuve Clicquot displays several independent pages on the web, which must negatively affect its brand image rather than reinforce it.
Despite this online problem, the Veuve Clicquot brand is performing remarkably well in the US, and many aspects of its site reflect that bill of health.

First, in a world of dull, undifferentiated labels that owe more to 19th-century traditions than to sound 21st-century marketing, Veuve Clicquot displays a uniquely differentiated dark orange label. This showy color helps it stand out, and strikes the minds of the most absent-minded customers.