Biltmore Chardonnay Sur Lies, American; $12
This is a unique wine. First it is nonvintage, which allows the winemaker to select barrels which will create a house style or, in other words, a chardonnay that will be consistent each year. It is also called American instead of being listed as Californian or as from another state because the winemaker chose to blend California and North Carolina chardonnay together for this house style. It starts with a terrific nose of vanilla and melon on the nose. The flavors were wonderful. Notes of pineapple, fresh pears and hints of buttery oak floated across the tongue, with yellow apples highlighting the finish. It's a terrific wine with loads of character. It would pair perfectly with grilled or baked chicken or fish, and can even stand up to creamy sauces.
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Stoli Chocolat Razberi, 75 proof, Latvia; $25
This is a true treat. Three of my favorite things -- Stoli vodka, chocolate and raspberries -- all in one drink. It starts with a rich nose of dark chocolate and subtle notes of raspberries, but once it hits the mouth the flavors explode. Big notes of fresh raspberries and milk chocolate coat the mouth, and the rich flavor of Stoli provide the power to keep the flavors fresh. None of the flavors taste artificial or overly sweet; they're extremely balanced. This would make for a new twist in a White Russian or a martini, adding depth and additional flavor. It's a terrific new flavor addition from a classic vodka provider.
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."