Month: May 2015

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Hennessy 250 Collector’s Blend: A Worthwhile Celebration

When any business manages to reach its 250th anniversary, let alone one in the increasingly mercurial spirits industry, it is cause for celebration, and Hennessy is celebrating in rare form.  To commemorate their sestercentennial, Hennessy has released 250 Collector’s Blend.  Seventh-generation Master Distiller Yann Fillioux carefully selected 100 eaux-de-vie, aged for 15-35 years in specially commissioned 250-liter Limosin oak barrels.  Only 250 such barrels were filled, allowing for only a few thousand bottles of this amazing cognac.  And unlike many other collector’s edition bottles, which can cost thousands of dollars, primarily because of the costs of the crystal it is bottled in, Hennessy has decided to keep the focus on what is in the bottle, and it shows.  A rich amber color in the glass, the cognac has a spicy aroma, with herbal notes and bitter orange, with a palate consisting of fresh nutmeg, licorice, dried peppermint, and a touch of saffron.  It is a powerful, bold cognac, but it retains elegance, with a lasting finish and supreme balance.  This would be great bottle to put on a shelf and save, but even more so, it is a bottle for drinking, and sharing in Hennessy’s rich history as the world’s premier cognac distiller.hennessy-250-blend-3-690x487

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Patron 7 Anos: A Hidden Gem, Rediscovered

It is not often that a distiller can happily say that they forget about several barrels of their product. But exactly that happened to 30 barrels of Patron Tequila, and they couldn’t be happier. After going through their usual tequila production process, starting with only the best blue agave hearts which are baked in stone ovens and then distilled in in small copper stills, 30 barrels worth of tequila was put in French Oak barrels, an unusual choice, to be aged for a typical period of one year. But, as Patron shifted around the barrels, taking old ones out and bringing new ones in, these 30 barrels remained untouched for not two or three, but a staggering seven years. Then, only just this spring, the master tequilero cracked open a barrel and discovered something extraordinary. Extraordinary enough, it turns out, to warrant Patron’s first ever limited-release bottling.patron-A7A-bottle_January-15

Patron 7 Anos Extra Anejo tequila. Beautiful to behold, it is an intense amber color with gold notes, stunningly displayed in a replica bottle based on the very first hand-blown Patron bottle and stopper. In the glass, it has an intense woodsy aroma, with notes of vanilla, light butter, and caramel. It tastes smooth, sweet, with dried fruits, citrus, light caramel and vanilla, offset by smoky wood character. This is a truly remarkable bottle in extremely limited quantities, so get it while you still can. After all, Patron 7 Anos was a happy accident, one that will never be replicated again.

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Manteo Wine: Paying Homage to Those Who Came Before

Wine-making has been around nearly as long as human civilization itself.  So when the first English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, they brought wine-making along with them.  They soon found two kinds of wild grapes growing on the island, which helped sustain them and the natives they soon encountered.  Though it would be a while before wine-making began in earnest in the New World, a 400-year-old strand of that grape still grows on the island, a clipping of which will soon be planted at American Pioneer Wine Growers new vineyard in Geyserville, California.

To commemorate this, they are releasing four bottles of wine to reveal the name of the vineyard.  The second of those bottles is Manteo, named after the Native American chief who helped the colonists and later became a trusted diplomat.  A rich Sonoma County red blend crafted with 28% Syrah, 16% Petit Verdot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Merlot, 4% Malbec, and 2% Zinfandel, Manteo debut vintage offers depth and balance along with rich, flagrant flavors of boysenberries, black cherries and cassis; featuring aromatic spices of pink peppercorns and notes of earthy minerals, tobacco leaves and smoky, toasted oak.

A truly remarkable bottle with a rich back story, Manteo is a bottle history won’t soon forget.

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Veuve Cliquot Rose Megaphone: A Party in One Gift

It’s not every day a champagne can elicit audible cries of “Wow!” without even being opened.  But this not every day.  Today, we have the Veuve Cliquot Rose Megafone.  Not only is it a truly memorable gift containing one of the best non-vintage champagnes available, it is also one of the most interesting pieces of engineering ever made related to a bottle.Veuve-Clicquot-Rose-Scream-Your-Love-2

On first glance, the gift case brings cheer-leading and old movies to mind: shaped like an old-fashioned megaphone, it is a striking image that conjures a sense of classic fun.  Unscrew the base, and the megaphone shell lifts up to reveal a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Rose Champagne.  A blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Veuve Cliquot’s own reserve wines make up a delicious rose champagne, with bright fruit notes front and center, but a carefully balanced acidity and lingering finish to keep you entertained glass after glass.

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But wait!  We’re not done yet.  We’ve only cracked the surface of the Megaphone.  Picking up the shell again, we can take off the cap at the top, and voila!  It is now a fully functional megaphone, perfect for when you want to play director at your next party.  And that’s still not all, because, when you’re finally ready to pop that champagne, simply screw the top end of the megaphone into the base, inverting it from its original orientation, and now, it’s an ice bucket.

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Three fantastic uses from just the case: an eye-catching gift, a party-starting megaphone, and a practical ice bucket, not to mention the champagne inside the whole thing.  A better gift, I couldn’t imagine.