2009 J Vineyards Chardonnay, California; $28
This is one of the true classic chardonnays that seamlessly blends the old world style of Burgundy and the unique boldness of California for a perfect bottle of wine. Starting with a nose of ripe lemon zest and almonds, you can almost taste the creaminess of the wine before the first drop hits your mouth. The flavors are rich and refined. Notes of ripe pears and peaches are well balanced with creamier notes of vanilla and light hints of dried figs. The finish is long and soft with layers of creme brulee and notes of baking spice. This is a complex and elegant chardonnay that is perfect on its own or with classic white wine menus.
Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum; $13
Bacardi, one of the leading rum makers, has introduced Oakheart. It's a blend of Bacardi superior and gold rums with select spices, filtered in a process only known to Bacardi to retain a hint of smokiness. The nose is rich, with subtle hints of toffee, dried fruits and smoky oak notes. The flavors are rich and smooth -- soft, sweet fruit notes on the beginning of the tasting experience, then a sweet and hot spiciness. But there is always an underlining taste of sweet creaminess that holds all the flavors together perfectly. This is terrific over ice or with a twist. It would add a new twist and tasting experience with any type of cola. It's a very drinkable and enjoyable rum with loads of character.
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."