Trinchero Family Estates (TFE) is the latest winery to enter the hard seltzer category with the launch of Del Mar wine seltzer, which is shipping next week. Packaged in 4-packs of 355-ml. cans ($9), in four different flavors at less than 100 calories a can, Del Mar is targeted at active, wellness-minded wine consumers.
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CRUZ is a 100% blue weber agave tequila made in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, Mexico. Slow cooked in traditional brick ovens for days, and naturally fermented, it is then double distilled in a stainless steel pot still. What is particularly nice about the packaging is that both the glass and the steel cap and cross are made from recycled materials. CRUZ is distributed by the Trinchero Family Estates in Helena, California. They also have a silver (blanco) tequila which GSN was not sent for review.
CRUZ Reposado (80 proof)
Visual: Very pale gold.
Nose: Slightly grassy and agave forward.
Taste: Light with a lot of sweetness. There is some caramel and faint smoke, but overall, very mild. Much of the deep funk of a rustic tequila is not found here.
Finish: A sweet almost buttered corn on the cob taste works surprisingly well.
Overall: This grew on me. I like the way it starts off simply, but has an almost buttery character after a minute or two. For a reposado, this is a bit on the thin side, but the flavor is quite good. This is great in a Margarita or as a shot. I would drink this with a traditional Mexican meal and it would add to the overall experience.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Cruz Tequila
Despite the tropical name, Sugar Island rum is produced in California. Owned by Trinchero Family Estates, best known for introducing White Zinfandel wine to the world, they have recently expanded into the spirits territory. The company has been in business since 1947.
Sugar Island rum is made with Caribbean sugar cane.
Sugar Island Spiced Rum (92 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Sweet and with some spice notes. Reminds me of cinnamon chewing gum.
Taste: Strong and intense with an overabundance of woodiness. Not too sweet, but with enough of an almost cashew-like nuttiness that it seems somehow like desert.
Finish: A residual flavor of Pecan Sandies along with the high-proof rum.
Overall: It’s certainly not my style of spiced rum, but I’m sure it’s fine when mixed with cola or in a highball.
GSN Rating: B-
Sugar Island Coconut Rum (42 proof)
Nose: Coconut cream.
Taste: Immediate coconut with a burst of sugar, but tamed by the rum itself. Well balanced.
Finish: The sweetness goes on for quite a while, as does the coconut flavor. Not a bad thing.
Overall: I like this better than Malibu, which seems overly cloying. The Sugar Island flavor seems natural and undisturbed by any other elements.
GSN Rating: B
For more information go to: Sugar Island Rum