2009 Wild Horse Central Coast Chardonnay, California; $22
This is a very nice chardonnay that delivers loads of flavors and elegance in each sip for an extremely fair price. Aromas of pears and tangerine zest fill the glass, with subtle hints of pears and yellow apples. All of these transfer seamlessly into the flavors and allow additional notes of tropical fruit and warm creamy butterscotch to flow across the tongue. The finish has layers of pineapple and subtle oak, allowing all of the fruit notes to resurface. There is just the right amount of acidity to keep each sip fresh and allow the fruit to dance across the tongue, making this an extremely food-friendly wine. It would be terrific with roasted chicken or seafood with a cream sauce or a fruit salsa topping, which would showcase the tropical fruit and creaminess of the wine.
Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack, Tennessee; $29
This whiskey is what is called "double blessed." Charcoal mellowing occurs once before it is aged four years and once after this process. This technique imparts a smoothness that flows like silk over the taste buds. Smoky aromas and light hints of dried fruits, especially apple notes, awaken taste buds for the first sip. The flavors were very soft with layers of spice and nuttiness developing into a warm caramel and vanilla taste. The finish had allspice and orange subtleness with a classic leathery feel. The extra charcoal mellowing really gives this whiskey a classiness that you do not find often. It's a real treasure for that someone special or when you need to treat yourself.
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."