Monday, September 27, 2010

Warre's King's Tawny Porto

In my mind when I hear port desert wine I think of extremely rare and expensive. King's Tawny is on the base of Warre's lineup though, and you'll see that you don't have to have deep pockets to sit in front of the fire with a glass of port just enjoying the moment. Warre's King's Tawny runs around only $13 a bottle.

For those that are use to other ports the first thing you'll notice is the lighter rusty red color, instead of the nearly opaque red of ruby ports. Matching the color the nose smells like raisins but you can sense much more is going on and is easier to clarify on the tongue. Woodsy-pepper, orange, black tea and plums all happen almost at once but the fruit notes lead into the wood and tea. It leaves you with a long aftertaste of the plums and oranges.

For those who know port wines well, get something else because King's Tawny isn't nearly as robust as others. As for the rest of you, what a port to try first! For the cost there's many levels happening and it's very easy to drink. I give it an A (excellent).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long Trail Double Bag

It's been awhile since I've visited Long Trail but tonight I have a brew they seem to be very proud of, their dark ale Double Bag. I say they're extra proud of this beer because they state "you'd never believe it has an alcohol content of 7.2%!!!" on the neck before you even get to the bottle's label. I'm not drinking this to enjoy the alcohol content though.

When you glass up the beer it acts exactly like an ale with a foamy head that laces around the cup but once in your mouth the parallels to a pale ale end. The palate is very malty in a chocolate way and the body is surprisingly crisp and heavy. The nose doesn't show this as strong as the tongue with lighter notes of a homely earthiness (something like oak, toast and chocolate). Unlike the statement made on the neck I don't find it 'smooth', you can tell it's a little higher on alcohol. This isn't enough to make this uneasy to drink.

A quote I made that I share frequently is "enjoy the drink, not the effect." If I were to ever buy a Red Bull I'd break this rule. Long Trail's Double Bag may give you an enjoyable effect sooner than other beers but you can still enjoy this beer beyond an alcoholic buzz. I think it's an A (excellent).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IZZE esque Sparkling Mandarin

It's the first day of fall but I'm posting something quite summer? Well where I am it's 80 degrees and a hot cup of coffee isn't the drink of choice, so I have IZZE's Sparkling Mandarin. Health nuts will be gravitated to this because it's not just all natural but low calorie as well. IZZE accomplishes this by adding juice to sparkling water and not using any preservatives. A different kind of seltzer?

It's sweeter than seltzer. The mandarin orange is the sole taste and the sweet, but still not hearty. Looking at the bottle you find that only 25% is juice and the rest is sparkling water. This is how IZZE does the low calorie approach.

There's nothing unenjoyable about it but due to its simplicity I must give it a B (good). I am enjoying this on such a hot day late in the season, but the IZZE esque Sparkling Mandarin is something to enjoy with a salad and not contemplated on its own.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Teavana MatéVana

Teavana must be very proud of this one, they named it after themselves! And a little inspection before steeping showed little pieces of chocolate and nuts of a sort that tasted very good without any steeping. (On a side note, mmmm...) On Teavana's website their sales pitch seems to be health, like a parallel to a nicotine patch for coffee to get you off that addiction (coffee is not a bad addiction though). Let me tell you how this products cup will treat you with your mental health though.

All the elements of this tea are quite merged so it's hard to determine what makes it up. The roasted maté will satisfy all those use to coffee but it has the green grassy note of unroasted maté as well through the smell. I don't have any sweet-tooth with tea but the chocolate didn't turn me away at all. The nuts work perfectly with the roasted maté making it a little more hearty for the coffee drinkers. Lastly there is a herb underneath it all that I can't put my finger on.

It's only fair to note that I can already feel MatéVana starting my day well with "energy without jitteriness". This is a fine roasted maté that I feel is a B (good) and I recommend it to all that want a healthy start. I'd also get it at the mall when all of your friends are in line for coffee but you don't feel like coffee.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Peak Organic IPA

Where I'm at going green and all organic is quite popular, so it's no surprise that there's an organic brewery here in Portland, Maine. I certainly don't limit my choices of liquids to organic but I do feel a little good about drinking a 'healthy' beer. But I'm not here to speak of a products health benefits but how it tastes.

With the bottle claiming the alcohol content is 7.1% I suspected this would be an intense IPA like others with higher percent. After pouring I was impressed to taste that it wasn't just that. It does have a strong taste of hops but it wasn't as tangy as other IPAs of this sort. The selection of hops brings out much more of the floral notes than just the citrus. The nose is like that, you won't sneeze taking a big whiff over the glass. Sweet malt is another taste behind the floral and citrus, but more interesting is a buttery affair that I don't think can be described as tasted but just felt. This buttery feeling is in the smell as well.

Not your typical American-style IPA, and I like this new approach. I'm leaving it with an A (excellent) and recommend Peak Organic's unique IPA to any beer drinker who enjoys hops.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seagram's Seven Crown

Today I have something that should be in everyone's budget, Seagram's Seven Crown. Easy to find and cheap like other liquors that have a plastic 1.75l bottle. One shouldn't judge a drink by its bottle though. Before I begin I'd like to note that not many buy this to drink straight but to mix, I'm drinking it straight to single out the notes it can add to a cocktail.

Even a small whiff of this will let you know it's alcoholic. Beneath the sting of alcohol is a sweet apricot scent along with wood. This is nice but impossible to enjoy with that burn. Once in your mouth notes of "good whiskey" are there but once again overtaken by alcohol. To make it fair I took my glass and turned this into a rickety with club soda and a little lemon. The sweet apricot was most noticeable but the wooden whiskey was only a hint. There was still a touch of burn.

I knew this wouldn't get a grade as high as many of the other liquors I've reviewed, but I must say this is a F (avoid). Seven Crown's attributes after you got past the burn still didn't make it a good deal. Spend a few extra bucks and get something better.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gekkeikan Sake

The first sake on my blog will be Gekkeikan, a sake not made in Japan as one would think but right here in the USA. This will also be my first time drinking sake as I write this so I'd like to note that I don't have any other sake to compare it to. I try to grade all drinks as how much I enjoy them though, not how they taste to others of the same type. I review all types of drinks here.

I have three glasses in front of me; chilled, warm and room temperature because that's the three ways sake is served. Putting my nose over each revealed a lot about the different ways of serving. The warmer the sake the greater the tingle on my nose from alcohol, but also the more character. Mellow floral melon would be my description of it. The taste was almost parallel but also included a slight graininess that was more apparent when cool. I can see why sake is sold along with wine because it's body is almost exactly like chardonnay, rounded but not too heavy.

Gekkeikan's sake isn't anything exotic in my mind, just a delicately sweet wine-like drink with a heavy body for such a taste. I'm leaving it with a B (good) and think it would go very well with sushi, but not just because they're both Japanese. I'd also like to add that family and friends have warned me that sake's alcohol content can quickly catch up with you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Root: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon '08

It wouldn't surprise me if many of you have noticed Root: 1 on the shelf before because it's a rather charming bottle. With the tree and its roots digging between words describing the wine stamped directly on the bottle with no paper label, it's hard to miss. As you'll find out this wouldn't be a bad one to take home based solely on the bottle as long as you like a robust cabernet, let me tell you why:

After decanting the aura given off by this showed a 'spicy' blackberry along with cherry. Once on the palate things got much more complicated though. The fruit notes turned into plum, raspberry and darker cherry but what I found most unique was dark chocolate. Coco didn't overpower the dark fruits though, it's just very well placed so you can't miss it. The body was quite smooth too and a hint of vanilla feels tied to this. In aftertaste the chocolate seemed to linger on the back of my tongue. I found this to be very well balanced.

Root: 1's cabernet sauvignon is a A (excellent) in my book and I should have reviewed this a long time ago because it's a favorite of mine. I'm sure it'll be a favorite of many once people try it and realized the price tag on it (I find it around $10 a bottle).