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The Prisoner, 2010 Orin Swift

December 24, 2011

The 2010 Prisoner, by Orin Swift, is a big, complex, well crafted, fruit forward, value of a wine.

Rare is the wine that retails over $30 and can be considered value. However, this blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet, Syrah, and petite sirah will not disappoint this holiday season.

3$, 4q, 3v

The Prisoner Website

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Value in South African Wine

April 28, 2010
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Tribune’s Bill Daley on why to consider purchasing a bottle from the southern tip of the African continent.

South Africa: Land of variety

Best of March 2010

March 31, 2010
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The list of 5. Best wine values sampled for March 2010.

1. 2008 Marchiori & Barraud Cabernet Sauvignon – Big depth, big flavor, big Cab, small price.

2. 2007 Alceño Jumilla – Excellent value from a bodega in a wine region without the demand of more recognized regions. Award winning and delicious.

3. 2007 Matanzas Creek Savignon Blanc – Crisp, clean, refreshing, and well crafted.

4. 2007 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon – Another amazing value from Charles Smith in Washington.

5. 2007 Family Harvest Red – Under $9 red table wine with depth, this is a solid bargain.

Prairie Vodka

March 30, 2010
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Wine is wonderful, but sometimes something else hits the spot. While there seem to be innumerable brands of premium vodka available in the United States imported from everywhere else like France, Holland, Finland, and sometimes Russia. In these times of eat and drink locally, what’s available?
Read more…

2007 Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Zinfandel

March 30, 2010
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Easily located, the 2007 Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Zin is big alcohol at 15%, but approachable, soft, and jammy wine capable of matching many grilled and bold foods. A little sweet for my liking, but very drinkable.

Rating: 1$, 2q, 2v

Half Acre Beer Company – Over Ale

March 28, 2010
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I finally made it to the Half Acre Beer Company at 4257 North Lincoln in Chicago. After enjoying many of their offerings on tap around town and purchasing their Lager in bottles at numerous retail spots, getting into their combined shop, tasting room and brewery was an experience long overdue.

Not surprisingly, the shop/tasting room had the perfect ambience of a beer aficionado’s version of a kegger. 8-10 guys in jeans, sneakers, and various headgear of ski hats, beanies, and baseball caps sipping out of small tasting cups while standing on the raw concrete flour in a rough semi-circle around the taps emanating from the wall. I laughed out loud at the sign proclaiming the taps were not self-service. Damn (maybe they’ll rent out the front room for parties?).

The beer is available for purchase. Year round offerings and seasonal, with the 4 taps for tasting and sale of growlers. They are upgrading their facility to eliminate bottles and sell their beer in improved packaging of 16.9 oz can 4 packs. Thus consolidating the need for both bottles and bombers and eliminating any concern of beer quality deteriorating from damaging UV rays penetrating glass.

While there, I purchased a 6 of their recent “mass” release, the Over Ale. Read more…

2007 Matanzas Creek Savignon Blanc

March 28, 2010

Just outside Sonoma, on the way to Santa Rosa, the winery of Matanzas Creek hides in Bennet Valley. Visitors to the winery are known to succumb to the allure of the location and the aromas of lavender that permeate the estate. Luckily, there is excellent wine to pair with the moment to complete the induced state of relaxation.

My favorite is their Savignon Blanc. Read more…