Wine: Convenience by the glassful in California

By Yvonne Lorkin

Don't you just love California? If there's one culture obsessed with instant gratification and gimme, gimme, gimme, it's those guys.

When I was a teenager one of my favourite bands were the Dead Kennedys and they had a record called Give Me Convenience, or Give Me Death. They were from San Francisco, they wrote about the ridiculousness and tragedy of modern consumer culture.

They would agree that anything that can deliver satisfaction quickly while being lightweight, good-looking and cheap is practically a licence to print money, which is why Stacked is bound to take off when it comes to wine drinking West Coast style.

The concept is simple. If you find bottles, corkscrews and glasses a hassle, then don't fret because Stacked Wines are here to help.

It's 750ml of wine, separated into four full, stemless, shatterproof plastic glasses, each sealed with a peel-top foil lid. According to the website,, this is the perfect solution for a picnic, barbecue, tailgating party, concerts, festivals or simply for a glass at home without having to open an entire bottle.

In its unstacked state, the glasses easily double as a back-massager or carry two when you're out power-walking to pump up your guns.

People love the concept, as the photo board on the website shows.

Available in Chardonnay and Merlot at only US$14.99 ($18.23) a "bottle", you can take your Stacked Wine square dancing, skiing, to the beach or to the theatre; you can even reuse your empty glasses as a vase or a clever, crafty, multi-tiered art sculpture.

Convenient, yes, classy? Hmmm.

Whiskey a-go-go

As those in the Northern Hemisphere coast into summer, our evenings are definitely getting chillier, the trees are looking more naked every day and out in the vineyards the vines are turning from green to russet red.

Late afternoons has me reaching for something to take the chill off, and right now a sip of good bourbon definitely does the trick.

Fans of Jim Beam will be pleased to know that you can now get the Jim Beam Honey Liqueur 700ml ($39), with its classic toasty bourbon aromatics edged with sweet, beeswax notes and soft, sweet, honey-roasted almond flavours - it's great with blue cheese and oatcakes.

The Jim Beam Devil's Cut 700ml ($39) is a dark, masculine 90 proof bourbon (that's 45 per cent alcohol to us Kiwis) which oozes smoky-sweet vanilla and is smooth and slippery on the finish.

It takes its name from what's left in the barrels after the "Angels Share" is lost to evaporation. Having just tried them for the first time I can see why aficionados of the smoky stuff love Knob Creek.

The Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Nine Year Old 750ml ($79) has seductive, fruitwood smoke, dark honey and roasted aromatics, while in the mouth it has toasty grip, and at 50 per cent volume, warmth and charred meaty intensity.

Also aged for nine years, the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 750ml ($89) boasts gorgeous, glossy dark amber colour, which is because of the whiskey absorbing more sugar from the wood during its those years in the barrel.

It oozes vanilla, smoke, cocoa powder and cinnamon and at 60 per cent volume, it packs heat and heft on the palate, leaving a tongue-tingling, toasty, grainy texture.

- Hamilton News

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