2008 Kendall-Jackson Jackson Hills Chardonnay, California; $25
This is one of Kendall-Jackson's Signature Wines made from 100 percent Santa Barbara fruit, and it delivers a different style than the regular K.J. chardonnay. It starts with delicate orange blossom notes and thyme hints which flow perfectly into a delicious medium- bodied tasting experience. Layers of warm banana, pineapple and melon start in the front of the mouth and evolve into layers of creamy vanilla with hints of herbal notes. The finish lets all the tropical fruit layers resurface with just the right amount of acidity to keep the taste fresh. It would be terrific with summer pasta dishes or baked chicken.
Tuaca Liqueur, Italy; $27
It's always fun to have one of your favorites and even more exciting when you see it with a new look. Though Tuaca's redesigned bottle is sleeker than its predecessor, the flavors are as enjoyable as always. This liqueur is a blend of vanilla and citrus based in brandy developed more than 500 years ago. The recipe was rediscovered in 1938 by two brothers-in-law. After World War II, many servicemen returning from Italy brought this delicious liqueur home and its popularity continued to grow.
The aromas are soft and delicate with notes of vanilla bean. The flavors are terrific -- light and soft with layers of citrus zest, caramelized vanilla notes and light hints of brandy, letting the flavors dance across the tongue, with none of them overpowering each other.
Tuaca is hosting an event at 8 p.m. tonight at the Wild Hare in Columbia. It's one of 10 local competitions taking place across the country where bartenders and tattoo artists compete to win a spread in Inked magazine. The winners will get to show off their Tuaca bold shot (think grown-up shots with thought-provoking ingredients such as chili peppers and smoked sausage) and their tattoo. Take a drive and come out for what promises to be an interesting night.
Lain Bradford is a wine writer and reviewer who has achieved his first level master sommelier certificate and is working toward his Certified Wine Educator degree. He only writes about beverages that are available in South Carolina and Georgia. Follow him on Twitter under the name "winereview."