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 December '09  Features at Wine & Spirits

Where Whisky Sleeps
Andrew Rankin, Bowmore’s Master Blender, raised his voice above dozens of chiming whisky glasses around a table at Aureole in New York. “I believe the barrel treatment is responsible for 65 to 70 percent of the flavor of whisky,” he said, while wafting a Bowmore 15 Darkest under his nose. “We called it ‘Darkest’ because it’s been finished in Oloroso Sherry casks for three years, giving it this dark color,” he told me as an aside.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Baga Baga Baga
No, it wasn’t love at first sight, although I wish it had been. First it was the name. Baga. I like the way it sounds. I like to repeat it. Baga, baga, baga. It has a kind of dry sound, like a drumstick making a single thump on a drum. Baga.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Champagne 2008: Growers Assess a Great Vintage
Tasting vin clair is tricky business for the uninitiated. As the base wine for Champagne, before its sparkle is created, vin clair is bracingly high in acidity and notably lean in fruit, leading many tasters to wonder how it ever manages to become the sophisticated and complex wine that we recognize and enjoy.

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

Champagne 2008: On the Making of Cristal 2008
When Jean–Baptiste Lecaillon joined Roederer in 1989, he worked on the blends for the 1988s. “The wines were very rustic for a long time,” he recalls of the vintage, “then they came out.”

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.

San Francisco Bay Area New & Notable Restaurants of 2009
For our 6th annual Top 100 Tasting, we invited chefs from our favorite new restaurants in the Bay Area to match wits with our favorite winemakers. We chose the restaurants a little like we choose the wines we rate in our tastings–these aren’t necessarily the trendiest new dining rooms, nor the chic–est or priciest. They’re the places we want to eat. Some specialize in refined French cuisine; others serve little more than hot dogs—the sort that go with a glass of Moric Blaufränkisch (or what have you).

The complete article is available in the print edition of Wine & Spirits.