All posts by Straight from the Bottle

FarmHouse Organic Vineyard

Nestled in the picturesque region of Petoskey in Northern Michigan, the Farmhouse Organic Vineyard offers visitors a unique and idyllic experience. The vineyard boasts over 20 acres of lush, rolling hills adorned with organic grapevines, making it a true gem for wine lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. The founders of this quaint vineyard, John and Nancy, have prioritized sustainable practices and an organic approach to viticulture, resulting in the cultivation of some of the finest grape varietals, such as Riesling, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc – all without the use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides.

Immersing its guests in a tranquil and serene atmosphere, the Farmhouse Organic Vineyard features a beautifully 19th-century looking farmhouse that was built into a sophisticated tasting room. Married with modern amenities for pure comfort, this charming space is complemented by exposed wooden beams, rustic accents, and large windows that provide enchanting views of the vine-clad landscape. The engineer in me was enamored with clever way John was able to reuse parts to make them functional and beautiful. While roaming thru the vineyard don’t be surprised if the local goats follow you around.  As you sip on the carefully crafted wines, visitors experience the blend of traditional and contemporary offerings, reflecting the vineyard’s humble beginnings and dedication to uncompromising quality.

Farmhouse Organic Vineyard is not only devoted to producing delectable wines, but also committed to hosting various year-round events and activities that capitalize on the area’s natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination in Petoskey. Ranging from wine tastings and pairings, private party, bridal shower or a beautiful venue for your wedding day. Farmhouse Vineyard is complete with the finest local Michigan cuisine, to vineyard tours and workshops, these events take guests on an unforgettable journey through the world of artfully crafted organic wines, curated by passionate and knowledgeable winemakers. The Farmhouse Organic Vineyard is a celebration of the richness and depth of Michigan’s terroir, ready to captivate wine connoisseurs and curious wanderers alike.

A Taste of Excellence – Jefferson’s “Marian McClain” Bourbon Review

When it comes to premium whiskey, Jefferson’s is undeniably one of the top contenders in the industry. Bearing the name of one of America’s most iconic figures—Thomas Jefferson—their selection reflects the rich heritage and craftsmanship that has been passed down through the generations. Among their exquisite offerings, Jefferson’s “Marian McClain” Bourbon stands out as a unique and superior choice. Blended with precision and mastery, this bourbon is the epitome of superb taste and exceptional quality.

Aroma and Appearance:
Jefferson’s “Marian McClain” Bourbon embraces the senses from the very first moment you encounter it, before you’ve even had a taste. The aroma is a fusion of sweet caramel, vanilla, and oak, blended with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. This mouthwatering combination piques one’s interest further by presenting a rich, dark amber hue that sets it apart from other bourbons. The appearance is distinctly inviting, hinting at the robust flavors hidden within and elevating the anticipation of the tasting experience.

Flavor Profile:
In terms of flavor, Jefferson’s “Marian McClain” Bourbon is undeniably complex and sophisticated. With each sip, a delightful symphony of harmonious notes unfolds. On the palate, you’ll discover initial flavors of caramel and vanilla, supported by a delicate sweetness from the corn base. As the tasting continues, fascinating hints of citrus, smoky oak, and spice emerge, adding depth and dimensions to the bourbon. Every taste lingers effortlessly, ensuring that the satisfying warmth and smooth, velvety finish remain with you long after your glass is empty.

The bottom line is that Jefferson’s “Marian McClain” Bourbon is a bourbon enthusiast’s dream. Its rich heritage and artful blending ensure that it stands apart in the ever-growing world of premium whiskey. The enchanting synthesis of flavors allows even the most discerning of palates to revel in its layered complexity, while its striking appearance and enticing aroma appeal to both experts and beginners alike. Whether you are a long-time bourbon aficionado or simply looking to expand your whiskey experience, Jefferson’s “Marian McClain” Bourbon is not to be missed—an exquisite reminder of the elegance and refinement that the bourbon world has to offer.

Rating = 92 points

Weller Single Barrel

Weller Single Barrel is certainly an exciting addition to the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s already-impressive lineup of wheated bourbons. The decision to release this annual offering at 97 proof points serves as a distinctive characteristic, giving it a unique position within the Weller portfolio. Also, the $50 SRP makes this product accessible to many bourbon enthusiasts.

The company’s dedication to honoring the legacy of William Larue Weller is evident throughout their product offerings. With Weller Single Barrel, they promise a refined and distinct bourbon experience tailored to those with discerning palates.

On the nose, I find this bourbon offers a rich, dessert-like aroma with no noticeable ethanol presence. The dominant scents of sweet cherry, apple pie, caramel, brown sugar, and syrup pave the way for a delightful sensory journey.

The best part I found was the taste doesn’t disappoint either, with sweet and luscious flavors indicative of a dessert platter. Cocoa provides a darker undertone, while the core flavors of glazed baked goods, Royal icing, and fruit filling create the sensation of being inside a bakery.

The medium-length finish offers a delightful combination of apple, cherry, and sweet vanilla. Although it lacks oak and spice, which could make it an even more memorable experience, Weller Single Barrel is still a well-rounded bourbon.

In conclusion, Weller Single Barrel is a tempting addition to Buffalo Trace Distillery’s repertoire of wheated bourbons. Although availability may be a concern for some, over time, the continued production of these delectable and unique bourbons will help satisfy the growing demand. For now, let’s enjoy the experience Weller Single Barrel brings, and toast to the innovation and history that have made it possible.

Rating = 98 Points

Kirkland Signature Stag Leap District, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

In the latest issue of my wine subm, I had the pleasure of reviewing a hidden gem from the Stags Leap District – a dark ruby, luxurious Napa Cabernet, retailing for just $20 at Costco. This delightful find showcases a medley of vibrant fruit flavors, ranging from blackberries and blueberries to plums and cherries, while also teasing the nose with hints of oak, earthy spices, and velvety dark chocolate. A medium-bodied wine with a well-balanced acidity, it boasts nice long legs that make it an exceptionally smooth and elegant choice.

The Napa Cabernet exudes a certain youthful charm and has a fruity and dry palate, laced with layers of oak, vanilla, and spices that create a complex, harmonious taste. The long finish is punctuated with firm, yet young, tannins, and a touch of tart cherries. Although it is already enjoyable, allowing it to age gracefully for a few more years would undoubtedly enhance its flavors and make it an even more sublime choice to enjoy with a variety of foods, such as smoky BBQ meats.

This particular Cabernet is grown on volcanic clay soil with 50-year-old vines, which explains the captivating flavor profile. Currently, the wine still exhibits some subtle vegetable notes that will likely dissipate with time. Letting it breathe and open for at least 2 hours before indulging will offer the best sensory experience. With an alcohol content of 14.3%, this exquisite Napa Cabernet is an excellent value, satisfying both the palate and the wallet. Don’t miss out on the chance to give it a try!

Rating = 92 Points

Blade and Bow Bourbon

Blade and Bow Bourbon is a premium bourbon that has gained a reputation for its excellent taste and quality.

Blade and Bow Bourbon is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that is aged for a minimum of six years. It is made from a blend of bourbons, some of which are aged up to 22 years, resulting in a rich and complex flavor profile.

One of the unique aspects of Blade and Bow Bourbon is its history. The brand is named after the two parts of a skeleton key – the blade and the bow – which were used to unlock the doors of the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. This distillery was founded in 1935 by Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, a legendary figure in the bourbon industry.

I would describe the taste of Blade and Bow Bourbon as smooth and balanced, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. It has a long, warm finish with a hint of spice. The high quality of the bourbon is evident in its aroma, which is complex and inviting.

The bottle itself is also an impressive piece of craftsmanship, with a design that pays homage to the keyhole of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. It is a standout on any bar shelf and makes for an excellent gift for any bourbon connoisseur.

Overall, Blade and Bow Bourbon is an exceptional bourbon that is well worth trying. Its rich history, high quality, and unique flavor profile make it stand out among other premium bourbons. Whether you’re a seasoned bourbon drinker or a newcomer to the spirit, Blade and Bow Bourbon is sure to impress.

Rating = 93 Points

Paso Roble, California, Brecon Estate Feral Underclass Reserve 2020

The Brecon Estate Feral Underclass Reserve 2020, from Paso Robles, California, is a stunning wine that has a deep, inky color with a short purple rim. Upon opening the bottle, the sweet and inviting aroma of blackberries, cooked plums, figs, raisins, vanilla, cola, toasted oak, licorice, chocolates, coffee and black pepper immediately hits the nose.

On the palate, this full-bodied wine is smooth, with medium acidity and long legs. The Feral Underclass Reserve 2020 is dry and has a very fruity taste of blackberries, plums, cooked cherries, oak, vanilla, licorice, Indian spices, raisins, dried fruits, chocolates, coffee, cola, and peppercorn. The long finish is characterized by fine-grained tannins and tangy cherries.

This Petite Sirah blend is simply delicious, displaying a smooth and elegant profile that is soft and supple. Although still young, this wine already showcases nice complexity. It is good right out of the bottle, but I recommend giving it 90 minutes in a decanter to open up and fully appreciate its flavors.

Aged in oak barrels for 18 months, 40% of which were new, this Single Vineyard blend of 76% Petite Sirah and 24% Zinfandel has a small production of only 8 barrels. With an alcohol content of 15.4% by volume, this wine is a spicy and entertaining choice that will continue to age nicely over the next 7 years.

Overall, the Brecon Estate Feral Underclass Reserve 2020 is an excellent wine that offers a delightful drinking experience. The combination of fruit and spice flavors, the smoothness of the wine, and its aging potential make it an ideal choice for any wine lover looking for a high-quality, yet approachable wine.

Rating = 92 Points