In France, even the Languedoc's thousand-year track record of world-class winemaking could not stand up to both the impact of the industrial age in the nineteenth century and the two World Wars in the twentieth. The need to supply a large work force and armies of soldiers with a staple beverage - “gros rouge,” thin, rustic, tannic wine consumed at the rate of 2 to 5 bottles a day - led to cultivation of vast properties of high yield, low quality vine stock, which caused it to became France’s least renowned region.
Mt. Etna, the largest still-active volcano in the Mediterranean, poses a significant threat to both life and property from its home in Sicily. The steaming top of the mountain looms over the towns beneath, and ashen soils from the volcano sprawl across several DOCs, including Etna Rosso and Etna Bianco.
When you work long enough in the industry, you taste a lot of wine. Esoteric varieties become your norm, and you continually search for a new, rare bottle in which to fall in love. We have seen it with our customers too. You’ve done Gamay. Vermentino’s a household name. Semillon? Pshhh. But worry not, my picky friend: I’ve got good news. Something different to try, something delicious, something unique: Weingut Wimmer-Czerny’s 2014 Roter Veltliner from the Wagram.
Barnaby and Olga Tuttle. Two names that sound like they'd be more at home at Hogwarts, than the winemaking community. They seem like kindly old neighbors who turn out to be wizards. Maybe I recall them being characters in the last book I read, Harry Potter and the Search for Terroir. Perhaps it's just that they're wines are so delicious they appear to be otherworldly. What's that? You don't believe they practice magic? Come in, watch their wine fly off our shelves so fast that sorcery must be involved. Now I've got your attention. Allow me, if you will, to lead you on a journey to one of the country's most enchanted places: Oregon. Don't laugh, it's true!
France's Loire region is the source of some of the most enjoyable, varied, and fascinating wines on the planet. Many of its most impressive whites come from Vouvray and are made from Chenin Blanc. Unfortunately, neither region nor grape loom large in the imagination of most consumers (or buyers of shops and restaurants, for that matter). Too bad, as Loire bottlings are wonderfully food friendly and Chenin Blanc can offer wines with superb structure, lively acidity, sumptuous fruit and even serious "legs" - a capacity to develop and age delightfully over many years.
There is a certain kind of customer who occasionally stops into our store. NYC residents far from home, wandering the hinterlands of West Chelsea, who approach Appellation like worshippers coming upon an uncertain Mecca. Their faces light up when they enter; the ambiance of our store seems to imply a repository of all things fine and rare. And, while we'd argue all of our bottles are fine, not all are necessarily rare. This kind of customer peruses our spirits selection for a few minutes and then pulls one of us aside and asks, as off-handedly as possible (worried that we’ll see the desperation on their face and realize that we could jack the price up another $100), “Would you happen to have any Pappy Van Winkle?”
Summer may be approaching, and rosés might be the only thing on your mind, but I’m making it my mission to convince you to take the road less traveled. Last week I highlighted a Viognier that, while off the beaten path, still adheres to the standards of a spring and summer white: bright, mineral, and refreshing. In keeping with this trend of “different is good,” let’s take a typically cold weather spirit and transform it into something you need to be enjoying now.
This past Sunday Appellation was transformed from wine store extraordinaire to a cutting edge kitchen chemistry lab. Led by Industry City Distillery’s co-founder, distiller, and engineer Dave Kyrejko, our lucky attendees were led through the finer points of bitters production. Lemons were tinctured, herbs were decocted, and all of our guests left with the knowledge that ‘Hey, I can do this too!’
We have finally suffered enough—spring is upon us. The new season may call for styles of wine we were unable to enjoy in the arctic tundra these past few months—dare we begin to turn back to our favorite whites? While rosés, Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs may be your instinctive go-to’s, a luscious, dry Viognier might be what you never knew you always wanted.
There are many roads that lead to the distilling industry. Some traditional, some accidental, some somewhere in between. Tom Michelberger and Nadine May of Berlin's Michelberger Hotel began their journey with a visit to the Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur (PSM) in 2010. The Berlinese distillery was founded in 1874 under German Emperor Wilhelm I specifically to stabilize potato prices by using crop surplus to produce fuel for agricultural machines. A leader in fermentation and distillation sciences, it created its own brand of spirits, Adler (Eagle). PSM flourished until trade was devastated by 20th century wars and depression. The distillery was abandoned for 50 years until its rescue by scientist Dr.