Tastes bottles

Published on February 12th, 2015 | by Greg


Valentine’s Day Spirits And Academy Awards Wine!

We passed Groundhog Day without much celebration this year- perhaps because of the bad news that was delivered. But in between the cold sleet and winter snowstorms, we’ve been preparing for other holidays. You can’t keep New York City down for long, and we’re ready for this romantic weekend, even if we have to walk on ice to enjoy it. It’s not long, either, until the big Oscar viewing parties, and we’re getting our liquor cabinets, cocktail menus, and wine lists ready.

Let’s start with the top of the shelf, and Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan Mesquite Smoked Single Malt Whiskey. American bourbons are justly famed, but whiskey is often associated with Ireland rather than New Mexico, and Scotch must actually come from Scotland to be granted the name. We’re happy to say that we’ve found one that will definitely impress, and not just because it channels a bit of the highlands with a uniquely American twist. It’s great on its own terms, 51% malted barely that’s spent a minimum of two years in charred new and used American oak barrels.

You’ll notice quite a bit of peat, and plenty of the smoke you might expect from the name, but there is a nice heat and spice the balances it out. Less sweet and vanilla, not too floral or fruity, with just a hint of an herbal undertone. It’s fairly balanced- not the sort that will burn for hours but with a solid finish. The color is a nice amber, and this handcrafted 92 proofer is sure to impress any aficionado of dark spirits with character- like your special someone. Santa Fe also makes gin, vodka, and an apple brandy, but we’ll stick with our single malt. $50 for 750 mL, $30 for 375 mL.

If a nice bottle of red is more your style, we suggest that you save space in the wine rack for the Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut 2012 Dry Creek Zinfandel. We have a tradition that started back when we were based in San Francisco, and found the ideal theme beverage for the Oscars: a wine with a filmmaker’s heritage. We’ve tasted many of their vintages and varietals, and are always impressed by the value proposition- not only are the labels fun, the name immediately recognizable, and the prices fair, but the wines themselves are usually pretty elegant. This year’s Zin was no exception, 90-point Robert Parker rated and earning a Platinum 94 points at the Critics Challenge Wine Competition.

We liked the addition of Petite Syrah, which adds some body. Aged in French and American oak, the official tasting notes mention velvety palate with a bouquet of blackberries, raspberries, clove and pepper followed by succulent flavors of cherries, mixed berries and mocha. We liked the traditional Sonoma zinfandel zippiness, concentrated flavor, and and slightly warm mouthfeel that made pairing with food pretty easy. At $27 a bottle, this delicious wine brings a bit of California to liven up your party, even if you don’t have a red carpet.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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