bourbon brand you can’t go wrong with is Four Roses; this Kentucky distillery is celebrating its 130th anniversary. Four Roses Single Barrel is made from 10 distinct bourbon recipes, each with a unique flavor profile. When combined, a smooth spirit is created with aromas and flavors of cherry, and a finish that leaves you craving the next sip. Oak barrels play an important role in finishing the flavor profiles of bourbons. Barrels also have a tremendous influence on wines. Imagine those already seasoned from whiskey. More winemakers are buying these barrels, and it’s more than a marketing ploy; you can taste the subtle influences of whiskey-soaked wood in the wine. Masking itself as bourbon with label and bottle shape is Cooper & Thief Red Wine Blend ($26). It smells like the holidays and looks like them, too, with a deep garnet color. A weighty blend of mostly merlot and syrah, there are smaller amounts of zinfandel, petite sirah, and cabernet sauvignon to produce a sweet, jammy finish. The winery also makes a barrel-aged cabernet and sauvignon blanc. The 2016 Exitus Red Wine ($25.99) is a blend of zinfandel, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and merlot, aged for three months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. It smells like cherry and baking spice, with smoky caramel notes on the palate. Exitus comes in a clear, bourbon-style bottle and label, topped with a traditional spiritsstyle ribbon seal.
Gina Birch is a regular contributor, a lover of good food and drink, and a well-known media personality in Southwest Florida.