Concannon Irish Whiskey - Review
A Different Kind of Green
We've enjoyed a few vintages from Concannon Vineyard through the years, and their Merlot even graced our list of Top 10 Value Wines. Based in California's Livermore Valley since 1883, the historic winery earned organic certification for its estate vineyards in 2010. It's also "green" in another way: Concannon claims to be America's first Irish-American winery. As a way of expressing their Irish roots, the Concannon family has teamed up with Ireland's Cooley Distillery to launch their own brand of Irish whiskey.
Concannon Irish Whiskey is distilled and blended in Ireland from malted barley and corn, then matured in bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years. A portion of it is then transferred into Concannon Petite Sirah wine barrels, supplied by the California winery, for four months of finishing before the final blend is created, bottled and shipped to the U.S. This new, 80-proof whiskey reached the American market in early 2012. We found the gold-amber liquid much more approachable than Scotch whiskey, even neat, with flavors of honey, malt and vanilla. It can also be mixed into a cocktail, or an Irish coffee.
Fourth-generation vintner John Concannon calls the whiskey, "a tribute to our Irish heritage and also to the independent spirit of my great-grandfather," James Concannon, who founded the vineyard. Coincidentally, James was born on March 17, 1847, St. Patrick's Day!