contact us

1001 Woodland St.
Nashville, TN 37206

(615) 228-3311

Purveyor of uncommon wine, spirits & beer | Nashville, TN

Archive

Purveyor of uncommon wine, spirits & beer.

Filtering by Tag: rustic

Old-Made-New from Haus Alpenz

scott

Haus Alpenz spends a lot of time sourcing traditional spirits and aromatized wines from the oddest, most out-of-the-way climes. Vermouths from the rugged Chartreuse Mountains, Arrack from the islands of Indonesia, orchard-fruit liqueurs from the Danube Valley of Austria . . . to name a few. Their latest offerings prove still more is out there, just waiting to be unearthed and brought again into the vocabulary of American libations. Some of what we picked up has been newly created, while some of it has merely been revived from the lost decades.

Kronan Swedish Punsch

Swedish Punsch has been around for centuries, and actually grew in popularity in the first few decades of the 20th Century in America. That is, until Prohibition slowed it to a halt. The Diner's Journal wrote a nice piece about it when the brand first launched.

The liqueur — which also contains rum, sugar and spices — dates from Sweden’s exploring days. “The tradition goes back to the Swedish East India Company,” [owner of Haus Alpenz Eric] Seed said. “To mollify the sailors on board the ships, they let them dive into the Batavia arrack that they brought back from the East Indies. They would mix that with sugar and maybe a touch of the spice, and that grog they called their punch.”

It's just now become available to us in Tennessee, and we jumped at the chance. Kronan drinks like something between a well-aged rum and a spicy-soft whiskey. Perfect as a fall dram or a winter warmer.

Dolin Génépy des Alpes

You know the Chambéry, France-based Maison Dolin primarily for their set of three Vermouths: Dry, Rouge and Blanc. These have become staples in every cocktail bar across the nation, loved for their added nuance in cocktails and their low price. Their latest export is a return to an even deeper tradition, a génépy recipe developed by Maison Dolin founder Joseph Chavasse in 1821. Made with wormwood flower heads and other herbs that grow plentifully in the Savoy region of France, Dolin Génépy is in effect quite similar to Chartreuse (falling somewhere between the green & the yellow versions, in terms of sweetness and bitterness) and for a fraction of the price. As usual, Dolin has affordably delivered a product of exacting quality.

Cappelletti Vino Aperitivo

Cappelletti is a wine-based aperitif, one of the oldest of its kind still in production. It came into a certain fame in WWII when Austrian troops traveling through Trentino began adding Cappelletti to the local sparkling wine. They called it a "Spritz." New to the states, this Americano Rosso strikes a great balance between light, fruity, bitter and sweet. This offering had its American debut this summer. Serious Eats had this to say:

The Americano Rosso is a treat for restaurants who have beer and wine licenses and can't make cocktails with hard booze. It's bitter enough to stand in for Campari and other bitter liqueurs, so it should provide a little extra flexibility for low-alcohol mixed drinks.

The Scarlet Ibis Trinidad Rum

Originally created specifically for the folks at the East Village bar Death & Company, The Scarlet Ibis is a "bespoke blend of three to five-year aged Trinidad rums." The different rums are chosen specifically for their virgin cane source, which come from all over the various terrains of the island nation—lush mountains, rainforests and drier rolling plains. Each geography imparts a unique quality to the cane, and so the finished product is superbly balanced and rich enough to evoke the tropics, sip after neat sip.

Approaching Zero Intervention | Movia Lunar

scott

Winemaker Aleš Kristačnič had a vision so singular he had to re-engineer hundreds of standard wine barrels before he could even get started. The idea was to create a wine so essentially alive not even the skins would be taken away, not even for bottling. What drove him to such lengths? A simple quest for the purest wine possible. The result is called Lunar, and it's spectacular.

Lunar is a wine of intrigue, a wine of mystery, and quite possibly the least intervened in wine in the world. As Aleš says, "this is wine that is very close to how the hunter found it thousands of years ago." In our era of the highly stable international style, Lunar is radical, ambitious and delicious.

In creating Lunar, Aleš draws on the full breadth of modern oenology but eschews the principles that have made wine the global commodity it is today. The grapes are harvested and de-stemmed by hand, loaded whole into his customized barrels, and left for eight months to ferment and mature on their own. No pressing, no pumping, no filtering, no adding of yeasts or acids or sugars, no killing of anything that might add to the complexity of the wine.

The winery is named Movia. It straddles the Italian-Slovenian border in the area known (in Slovenian) as Brda, where the white grape rebula is king. Lunar is made in two editions, 8 Moon (rebula) and 9 Moon (chardonnay).

We recently picked up Lunar 8 Moon, the rebula wine. It's not cheap, but then it's not like anything you've had before, either. If you're interested trying Lunar, pick up a bottle and watch the video on how to open and pour this wine to preserve its full character but not get mud in your glass.

The Wines

Movia Lunar 8 Moon — $44 Movia Rebula — $34

Best Wine You've Never Heard of #003

scott

Cantine Valpane "Euli" Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese

Monferrato, Italy. Top of the boot, so to speak, where the land surges up toward the towering Alps to the west. This is the Piedmont, or Piemonte, a region best known for its two big 'B' names—Barolo & Barbaresco—but which has a rich wine tradition that extends well beyond the borders of those famed microclimates. Along the northern border of the Piemonte runs the Po River, where we find the charming town of Casale Monferrato. The climate here is warmer than Alba or Asti to the south, the land lower, making it ideal for late ripening grapes like the odd, delicate red varietal Grignolino.

The bowl-shaped property at Cantine Valpane has been planted with vineyards for hundreds of years. But at the turn of the 20th Century a young man named Pietro Giuseppe Arditi wheedled his way into a sharecropping agreement that, two years later, landed the estate squarely in his hands. Valpane has been in the Arditi family ever since.

Today, Pietro Giuseppe's grandson, also named Pietro, holds the reins. Pietro the younger is a major proponent of Barbera del Monferrato, which he says is more expressive of the true character of Barbera than the wines of his Southern neighbors. But one of the wines that sets Cantine Valpane apart is Pietro's Grignolino, called "Euli" (the name is a play on the German word for the owls living in the barn on their property, and on the name of the indigenous tribe that inhabited the Grignolino vine land in ancient times).

It's a perfect summertime red—lowish in alcohol, brightly refreshing and yet a touch musty, making it a welcome companion to grilled foods. It's really not like many reds I've had otherwise. Euli is delicate and floral, like a Fleurie (cru Beaujolais), and brimming with intense fruit, like a basket of tart wild berries that has maybe sat in the sun for a day too long. Strange? A little, but that's what makes this wine so seductive.

Mas Champart

scott

Free Tasting | Saturday, May 18 | 3-5pm

To drink good wine is to be transported. It's about moving beyond the dull and familiar spaces of our lives, physically and otherwise. It's about lifting off. Like with travel, sometimes we explore new horizons and sometimes we simply reminisce about the places we love. And, like with travel, we take the good with the bad, always searching and always hoping that each next corner, each next glass will reveal something memorable.

Between those rare occasions of truly new or truly exquisite wines, there is an everyday sort of beauty that suffices. And for me, no wine quite captures that quality like the wines of southern France.

The word mas in French is something akin to the English terms farmhouse or ranch. But there's a little more to it. It's a dialectical term, a sort of colloquialism that refers not only to a structure or a piece of land, but a bucolic way of life in the South of France. Mas Champart, the eponymous wines of Isabelle and Matthieu Champart, are made with such a spirit.

As the story goes, Isabelle was a geographer living in Paris when she met Matthieu, the son of a long line of farmers in the Champagne region of the north. They married and moved South and took over her family's farm in the Languedoc-Roussillon town of Saint-Chinian in 1976. Knowing next to nothing about making wine, they sold off their grapes for twelve vintages straight. But when they began making and bottling their own wine in 1988, "they won almost instant acclaim, and have become the standard against which other producers in the appellation have been measured ever since," according to the Kermit Lynch website.

They're a dynamic duo (he among the vines, she in the cellar) of the likes that inspire wistful decisions. The kind of story and the kind of wine that makes me want to put down my laptop posthaste and whisk away to their humble doorstep, begging for just a few days under their shining sun. But for now, as the May rains pour down around Nashville, I'll have to settle for a glass of simple Champartian beauty and hope for a tomorrow that is even nearly as good.

The Wines

Mas Champart Saint-Chinian rosé — $17 Mas Champart Pays d'Oc red — $18

PS: Only about 40-50 cases of the red was brought into the U.S. in total. We got eight of them. Similarly, the rosé is not something you'll find everywhere. But for us, it's a perennial favorite.