Twelve Tasty Sips
Our Mixed Case series serves up an eclectic mix of recent ‘adult beverage’ discoveries by the dozen.
Whether you’re perusing a bar menu while traveling or stirring up a cocktail at home, let our guide lead to new taste destinations.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Whether it’s in celebration or consolation, when you raise a glass filled with these adult sips a tasty treat awaits.
Aveleda SA Casal Garcia Sweet is billed as “the very first Vinho Verde with a sweet twist.” Made of Trajadura, Loureiro, Arinto and Azal grape varietals, it is light, fresh and fruity. Enjoy notes of candied orange and lemon peel, lime zest, papaya, powder and green melon on the nose and palate. Retails for approx. $7.
Berentzen Apple Liqueur boasts a crisp taste of apple juice, cinnamon sticks and alcohol. This spirit shines best when mixed into a cocktail. Try it with cranberry juice and ginger ale for some seasonal yum. Retails for approx. $20.
Berentzen Bushel & Barrel marries straight Kentucky bourbon with Berentzen apple liqueur. Apple aromas leap out of the bottle and glass as it’s poured. Candy apple flavors dominate the taste profile with ripe fruit and caramel notes. The bourbon lingers quietly in the background, smoothing and rounding out each sip before making a bold move with its pow right in the kisser finish. Enjoyable straight on the rocks, it also makes a nice seasonal cocktail when mixed with cranberry juice. Retails for approx. $22.
Blue Ice Vodka is made from Idaho Russet Burbank potatoes, all non-GMO. It is the top-rated American vodka; among its many accolades it’s been ranked the No. 1 American vodka by the Beverage Testing Institute, won a gold medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition in 2014, and earned high scores by Pacific Magazine and Wine Enthusiast. It smells fresh and clean, is smooth, clean and soft on the palate and finishes with pleasant spiciness. It’s quite lovely and mixes well into a wide range of vodka cocktails from a dry martini to a fruity punch. Retails for approx. $23.
Bodegas Franco Espanolas Bordon Reserva hails from Rioja, Spain. One of our personal go-to wines, it’s a deep-hued, well-balanced blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Mazuelo grapes. Elegant and well-crafted, it’s enjoyable sipped on its own or alongside a meal. Aged at least 24 months in American oak and bottle-aged another 24 months before release, it offers layered flavors of blackberry, plum, stewed cherry, balsamic, thyme, clove and pepper. Retails for approx. $18.
Chateau Montelena 2015 Potter Valley Riesling is billed as a “true departure from the mass-market, sticky-sweet” versions of wine made from this German grape varietal. It opens with notes of papaya, melon, lemon and apricot. Bright and zesty, it tastes of grapefruit, lemon, green mango, white peach, minerals and cream. This dry wine is enjoyable on its own or with food; we recommend Asian dishes as a welcome pairing. Retails for approx. $25.
Mercer 2015 Columbia Valley Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay goes down easy with fresh fruit, bright acidity and chalky minerality. Notes of lemon zest, lush butter, roast apple, juicy pear, light oak tickle the nose and wash the palate. Hints of lychee fruit, toasted marshmallow and white pepper join the finish. Retails for approx. $17.
Mirabeau Pure Rosé 2015 Appellation Côtes De Provence Protégée is a food-friendly bottle of joy. It opens with whiffs of melon, pear and berry. Notes of lemon, lime, orange blossom, thyme and yellow bell pepper wash the tongue. The finish offers a hint of white pepper. Retails for approx. $20.
2016 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is an annual special-release bourbon. This version offers notes of butterscotch, caramel, oak, chai spices, orange peel, licorice and wood. Spicy and delicious, it lingers into a vanilla-meets-pepper finish. Retails for approx. $80.
Piazzo 2013 Barbaresco sniffs of cherries and a floral bouquet. It tastes of tart cherry, cranberry, currant, lemon verbena and a hint of cocoa. Dry and elegant, it lingers on spice and leather. This wine is made of all estate-grown Nebbiolo by one of the Italian Piedmont’s “largest and most prestigious land owners,” according to press materials. Retails for approx. $30.
Santa Maria alla Pieve di Gaetano Bertani Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso is a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella grapes from Veneto, Italy. Soft, balanced and well-structured, it boasts notes of cherry, berry, and anise with hints of cinnamon, pepper and leather. Retails for approx. $30.
Valley of the Moon 2014 Pinot Blanc is crisp, balanced and refreshing. Scents and flavors of Asian pear, lemon, summer squash, thyme and honeydew hum in delicious harmony. It’s produced by Madrone Estate Winery, which was originally founded in 1863, in Sonoma Valley, Calif. “Pinot Blanc is a varietal that needs to mature a bit longer on the vine than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc,” according to a release. “We give the juice time to cool ferment in stainless steel tanks…and also barrel a portion of the overall blend down into a mixture of new and used French Oak and Acacia barrels” for texture and roundness. Retails for approx. $19.
Unless otherwise noted, all suggested retail prices are for a 750ml bottle.
Be a responsible grownup: Never drink and drive.
Product samples afford the research opportunity but do not sway opinion.