Category: Tasting Notes

The Wonders of Wood: Cooperages and alcohol producers are expanding the roles barrels can play in altering or refining a beverage’s flavor profile.

A well-built barrel provides alcohol beverage producers the opportunity to fully take advantage of the alchemy that occurs when juice or mash comes in contact with wood. And a finished wine, beer, cider, or spirit can take on even more complexity if it spends time in a used barrel—kissed by the impression of another beverage.   The barrel family tree According to Henry H. Work in Wood, Whiskey and Wine: A History of Barrels, wooden barrels were developed by the Celts in the first millennium BC. As their design and quality became increasingly refined between 1300 BC and AD...

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Editor’s Toast: The Learning Curve

Because I take this job seriously, I decided to learn more about those parts of the industry I’m less familiar with, namely, distilled spirits. Of course I’ve had hard alcohol before, but I’d never really studied it—approached it the way I would a wine tasting—evaluating its aroma, mouthfeel, and flavor rather than just sipping to enjoy. For assistance, I turned to Spirit Works Distillery, where founders Timo and Ashby Marshall have been crafting award-winning spirits since 2003. I spent an informative morning with head distiller Lauren Patz, learning about the ingredients, processes, equipment, and regulations that turn a simple...

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Results from the 2017 Women’s International Wine Competition

Do you recall the first ultra-premium bottle of wine you purchased? My recollection is crystal clear—a 1989 Opus One. The woman ahead of me at the retail shop paid $25 for a case of value-priced wine. When my single bottle rang up at nearly $84, she asked, ”Where’s the rest of your case?” It’s fitting I bumped into another woman in line. Reportedly, women purchase 80 percent of wines consumed in America, which is what makes the Women’s International Wine Competition so relevant: it’s judged by women wine professionals for women wine buyers. Each year, the competition bestows Woman...

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Results from the 2017 Dan Berger International Wine Competition

In addition to classic, expected wines, many beyond-the-ordinary varieties found their way into the spotlight at Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition this year—Diamond, Vidal Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Valdiguié, Touriga, and Frontenac were among wines securing gold, alongside Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and other widely planted varieties. This year, 1,315 wines from around the world were entered. Those of you who follow Dan Berger and his weekly Vintage Experiences online-based commentary ( know his strong connections with wine producers worldwide continue to expand. Live vicariously through his travels and gain knowledge of outstanding grape growers , winemakers, and...

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5 to Try: A Sampling of 3 Badge Spirits

If you’re intrigued by August Sebastiani’s story, check out these 3 Badge Beverage Co. offerings. Bib & Tucker Small-Batch White Whiskey A smooth white whiskey made from a mash of 72% corn, 15% malt, and 13% rye (all grown in Kentucky). Double-distilled and given minimal barrel time, the oak it does come in contact with previously aged 6-year Bib & Tucker bourbon, a related product line. Soft and mellowed from the corn, it offers fresh grain aromas and a whiff of sourdough so delectable you’ll want to take a bite. Additional aromas and flavors of maple syrup and vanilla...

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