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From Wine to Whiskey

Robert Whitley on

I recently nosed and sipped the spectrum of Cedar Ridge whiskies, and I must confess to a fondness for the single malts. That said, the Iowa bourbon and malted rye are beautiful sipping whiskies. The wheat whiskey was a bit one-dimensional and seemed to my palate to be best suited for mixing in cocktails.

Cedar Ridge spirits are distributed throughout the United States, though no one region of the country has access to the entire lineup. For more information about this unique wine-to-whiskey project, visit the distillery website.

Best Value

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2016 Fume Blanc, Sonoma County ($15) -- The 2016 vintage of Dry Creek's fume blanc is an easy quaffing white that shows hints of lemon grass, green citrus and stone fruits. It goes down easy, and it's a steal at the price. Rating: 88.

Tasting Notes

Rombauer 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($55) -- Rombauer is so famous -- or infamous, depending upon your preference -- for its chardonnay that hardly anyone talks about its cabernet sauvignon. That's too bad because it's a delicious expression of Napa Valley cab, and it's made to be supple and voluptuous and ready to drink now. The wine shows notes of ripe blueberry and blackberry with an attractive touch of wood spice. Rating: 92.

Goldeneye 2014 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley ($56) -- The crowd that enjoys Goldeneye pinot noir will no doubt love this appellation-branded pinot because it's a substantial savings over the pricy vineyard-designated bottlings. With excellent palate weight and depth, and layers of vibrant cherry and raspberry, this is Goldeneye is easy to drink, and what I mean by that is easier on the wallet. Rating: 91.

J. Lohr 2014 Pinot Noir 'Fog's Reach,' Arroyo Seco ($35) -- J. Lohr's Fog's Reach pinot noir is the model of consistency. This vintage exhibits good palate weight and depth, impressive length and classic notes of cherry and spice. The tannins are firm but manageable, meaning they soften with aeration and will soften with another year or two in bottle. Rating: 89.


Follow Robert on Twitter at @wineguru. To find out more about Robert Whitley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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