Virgil Kaine Bourbon and Ginger Whiskey, Charleston, 80 proof, $25, 750 ml
It is always great to come across locally made products, and the Virgil Kaine is another one we can add to the line up that South Carolina can call its own. The ginger flavor and bourbon do have some similar characteristics, and with the plethora of flavored vodkas we will start to see more flavored gins, tequilas, bourbons and blends in the near future. The Virgil starts with a nose full of sweet, toasty oak and rich bourbon notes. All the classic bourbon flavors shine; soft, sweet dried fruit and nuttiness with a touch of honey is balanced perfectly with just the right touch of ginger. Each sip is a new and fresh drinking experience. It's terrific on the rocks or with a splash of soda and a twist.
WINE Duplin Hatteras Red Sweet Muscadine Wine, North Carolina, $9, 750 ml
I always love the purity of these wines. They are sweet, but they do showcase what the grapes of our region can do. It starts off with a healthy nose full of ripe, jammy summer fruit and a touch of earthiness. The flavors explode as soon as it hits the mouth -- big, bright, juicy red fruit and loads of vine ripe Muscadine keep dancing across the tongue. The finish has a summer fruit linger to it, putting a smile on your face and making you want the next sip. The sweetness is pure fruit and not artificial, making it a perfect sipping wine and a great food wine to pair with spicy foods, especially Thai or Asian foods. This is a great and fun wine to have on hand for the experienced or novices alike. If you are looking for a fun way to start and spend your weekend, think about heading to the annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival and 2012 Great Chefs of the South Wine Dinners. The wine dinners partner great wines and local chefs for a variety of scrumptious menu pairings through Saturday. In addition to the dinners, there are two terrific tastings that occur. One is Friday night, which has a limited number of tickets and offers a more imitate setting. The other is the festival itself, where hundreds of wines will be available to taste.
The Grand Tasting and Silent Auction will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sea Pines Resort in Harbour Town Conference Center on Hilton Head. The festival and silent auction will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn.
Columnist 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."