2010 Carmel Road Liberated Chardonnay, California; $16
The Liberated line of wines from Carmel Road is fermented in stainless steel, seeing no oak, which gives the wine a cleaner, fruit-forward feel. This is important for people who do not like oak or buttery flavors in their chardonnay or have allergies to oak in wine. This wine starts with layers of bright citrus and apples that perfectly flow into a balanced treasure of fruit and acidity in each sip. The fruit notes are complemented with a subtle floral aroma and a layer of minerality that provides a terrific structure. It's a great wine for people who want to taste what chardonnay is like without any oak influence. It's a tasty match for seafood or Caribbean foods.
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Old School Peanut Butter Flavored Vodka, South Carolina; $20
It is always fun to try the new flavored vodkas on the market and mix them together for exciting drinks. This one was terrific. From the name you know what the flavor is, but it has a terrific depth and smoothness that makes it perfect for sipping while enjoying dessert. The aromas were of butterscotch with a note of creaminess, that flowed into the mouth where the main flavor was peanut butter. But in addition to the obvious, there was a subtle chocolate and coffee note. It is smooth and sweet, making for a very dangerous combination that can quickly sneak up on you. Terrific chilled on the rocks or with a chocolate liqueur for a peanut butter cup cocktail or with grape vodka in a martini glass for a PB&J martini. Right now it is only being sold in South Carolina and makes a great gift for out-of-town visitors.
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."