Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Years Old

With an MSRP of $169.99 the fabled Pappy Van Winkle’s doesn’t sound unattainable, but finding a bottle can be a challenge. I’ve seen people hawking these Family Reserve bottles for $1,000 – $3,000 USD or more! On Friday I was lucky enough to sample some of this fine bourbon with one of my friends.

Lets set aside the price for a second and level set that I’m not a regular bourbon drinker. I’ll use bourbon with a mixer, but when consuming brown liquor straight up I usually reach for a scotch. This famous american whiskey however was a joy and definitely worthy of drinking neat. You’ll taste plenty of leather and earth, with rich notes of cigar box wood. By using wheat in their recipie a sweeter carmalized taste is developed.

Ydda, yadda, yadda, let’s pop the price back in for a second and get real. Pappy is really fucking good, but I can find a better drink for the money. There I said it and I won’t take it back! I would never want to give anyone the impresison that it’s a bad drink at all, it’s a terriffic whiskey. I’ll drink it when it’s free! Not only that, but I’ll drink it at it’s advertised price of $169.99, hell at $300 I’ll still drink it without much complaint. But ultimately I’m never going to pay what some people are paying to enjoy this, it’s not worth thousands of dollars.

Rating: 91S

Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Years Old

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Years Old

Michael David Winery Rage Zinfandel 2013

I’ve never tried Rage before, but Michael David stuff tends to be a decent choice, reasonably priced and ready to drink now. This isn’t a fancy wine to wow guests with, but it really is jammy and fruity as a good Zinfandel from Dry Creek tends to be. This is a very bold wine with lots of character to enjoy. There aren’t any harsh flavors to fight either! With a cost of $45-$55 go on and treat yourself.

Rating: 87M

Michael David Winery Rage Zinfandel 2013

Michael David Winery Rage Zinfandel 2013

Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2010

This is a great example of a easy to enjoy Rioja. It’s got a very pretty deep ruby red color and a nice balance of fruit and aging. You can taste cherries and pepper as dominant flavors. For $12 or so this wine is a no brainer for events or just as a normal table wine. It’s quite good for it’s price point!

Rating: 90E

Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2010

Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2010

Glen Grant Duncan Taylor NC2 22 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

This scotch was distilled in 1987 and aged for 22 years before being bottled and shipped out. This is a prime example of a natural Scotch. There is no chillfiltration or added coloring. This is a completely natural drink. The hand selected casks have added a very unique flavor native to this particular distillery. This Speyside scotch comes in at 46% alcohol. I personally quite enjoyed the drink. It’s very mature and has lots of interesting tastes you don’t get in your big box brand scotches. I found notes of fruit, strawberries, caramel, apple and some mild sweetness. The spice really offsets the fruit with lots of nutmeg and ginger nose and finish. At about $100 for a bottle it’s a good choice if you want something that’s hard to come by every day. I would buy again!

22 Year Single Malt Scotch

Glen Grant Duncan Taylor NC2

Capafons-Ossó Montsant Vessants 2003

This wine may be a bit past it’s drinking date now, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m a huge fan of Spanish red wine. It was a bit more bitter than it should have been, but the deep sour cherry flavor was deliciously overwhelming. I found that this bottle needed at least a good hour to decant, before the bitter taste goes away. Once drinkable I found lots of fruit flavor, a nice ruby color and a very lush character. I think this is a very good example of a solid Spanish wine that would pair well with pretty much any red meat or even on it’s own for the simple pleasure of drinking. As the bottle contents continued to sit in the decanter I found the wine became more complex with lots of subtle fruit nose and flavor. After about six hours of decanting I tried tasting it again and found it to be much more mellow, less sour, not bitter at all and highly drinkable. If you’re put off at first, just decant some more. Not all wine needs decanting and often it’s a waste of time, but this wine requires it.

This bottle benefited highly from decanting with lots of sour cherry notes coming through once drinkable.

This bottle benefited highly from decanting with lots of sour cherry notes coming through once drinkable.

Pesquera Ribera del Duero Tinto 2007

This $30 wine will need a lot of decanting. Seriously, you need to decant this bottle for a while, otherwise you won’t taste the fruit and more delicate flavors. This is a great example of a delicious Tempranillo wine. It has a very long finish and lots of cherry and blackberry flavor. It’s also very earthy and medicinal with lots of spice. I love the deep dark red color of this wine when it’s in a glass. There is also some blackcurrant nose and aftertaste and it’s a juicy finish. I rate this wine very highly.

This wine rates highly in my book.

This wine rates highly in my book.

Borsao Tinto 2010

I found this plum and raspberry accented wine to be pretty delicious for such a young and low cost wine. It has a lot of very dry and sharp flavors. The wine is very good as a table wine with meals. I would buy it again considering you can get it for as little as $8-10. Made from Grenache grapes in Spain this is a decent selection.

A young but tasty wine.

A young but tasty wine.

Casajús 2006 Vendimia Seleccionada Tempranillo

As you may know I’m pretty biased towards Spanish reds. I found this wine to be a pretty tasty selection. It’s not my all time favorite by any means, but I really enjoyed the oaky aromas and exceptional dryness. I really like a dry wine. I know some have criticized this bottle for not being fruity enough, calling it flat, but it really was in my opinion a good example of what we expect from a Tempranillo. It’s a low acidity wine, it’s not supposed to be very fruity unless it’s blended. This wine was produced in Ribera del Duero and aged for three months in tank, six months in french and american oak with a 14% alcohol content. It should also mature with age and be highly drinkable throughout this decade. I enjoyed the solid cherry flavor and some of the earthy and medicinal tastes. The price was also very reasonable at about $20 USD at my local liquor store.

A great wine from Ribera del Duero.

A great wine from Ribera del Duero.

Aquinas Pinot Noir Napa Valley 2007

I really liked this particular Pinot Noir and it was pretty cheap at just $14. I think I got one of their last bottles of the 2007 at Specs, because the rest were 2009s and I do see their advertised price for a 2009 as $14, which is what they charged me. I see the 2007 vintage is sold out most everywhere, but if you get a chance to try it out, I say go for it. I tasted a bold body, red currant, lots of cherry, earthiness and a good acidity that makes this wine very versatile. The tannins are velvety and really make for a great finish. I would recommend drinking this wine with pork, beef, and any kind of meat really.

I really recommend this drink.

I really recommend this drink.