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Perfect sipping whiskey worth the price

- Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, 80 proof, $35, 750ml

The Gentleman Jack is refined through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal and then aged a second time in barrel, giving it a much smoother and refined flavor. Aromas of vanilla and oak fill the glass and carry over to the taste. Notes of spice and dried fruit sweetness are balanced by the toasted oak notes and charcoal sweetness, all of which have a terrific warmness. This is a perfect sipping whiskey; the extra aging shows in the smoothness in flavors and texture. Worth every extra penny!

- 2008 Smoking Loon Pinot Noir, California $9

This wine is always a terrific value, delivering loads of flavor and style for a very reasonable price vintage after vintage. Starting with a nose of bright fresh raspberries and a floral note, this develops into a subtle note of white pepper and hint of oak that flows perfectly into the mouth. Once the wine hits the mouth the flavors started to explode, layers of dark cherries, spice, cocoa, and berries flowing together framed by a touch of oak. The finish allows all the flavors to dissipate slowly with a touch of acidity to keep everything fresh and lively. A terrific value for everyday consumption or a special meal.

- Abita Amber, New Orleans LA, 4.5 percent alcohol $8 six-pack

This brewery has made excellent beer for as long as I can remember. This beer has a terrific golden amber color and a great head. It has great aromas of malt and a subtle touch of toasted peanuts. The flavors were perfect, good creamy malt and hoppiness balanced with oats and grain notes and just the right amount of sweet bitterness. This beer fires on all cylinders with each sip, not so heavy as to be hard to drink during our summer heat, but a perfect match for grilled sausage. Make sure you grab a couple of six-packs; this beer goes down very easy, with excellent flavors in each sip.

NOTE: FOR A LIST OF UPCOMING WINES TO BE REVIEWED, E-MAIL ADVANCE@WINETALK.ORG.

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