To producers and wine geeks, natural wine defies precise definition: it can indicate an absence of additives and pesticides; a gentle handling of grapes and soil; or even the ancient methods of the biodynamic approach. But consumers only need to know this: many natural wines exhibit rich and unique character, as well as a strong sense of terroir. If you’re on the hunt for a memorable bottle, there’s a good chance that a naturally produced wine will fit the bill.
To get some recommendations for affordable natural pours, we turned to Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & François Selections, which specializes in naturally made European wines.
Domaine Binner Saveurs 2009 (biodynamic/$18)
"This floral and fruity white is light and versatile. Enjoy it with seafood, grilled chicken, and even mildly spicy Asian dishes."
Winner of the 2011 JBF Award for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional, Julian P. Van Winkle III carries on a century-long tradition of producing premium bourbon at Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.
The James Beard Foundation: Rip Van Winkle is a four-generation family company. How did you get involved in the business?
Julian P. Van Winkle: I started working for my dad in 1977. At that time we were selling just one age of Old Rip Van Winkle. We also sold decanters filled with our whiskey. I took over the company in 1981 after my father passed away.
JBF: Can you describe your bourbon recipe and the impact it has on the flavor of your products?
JPVW: Bourbon must be made from at least 51 percent corn. Rye or wheat can also be used. My
With summer in full swing and the harvest around the bend, it's a great time to plan a leisurely (and responsible) drive through wine country. We called up some of the 2011 JBF Award–nominated oenophiles to find out which wine destinations make for a great weekend escape.
“Among off-the-beaten-path wine trails, I like the Fauquier Wine Trail in northern Virginia. Boxwood Winery is a favorite of mine on that trail, particularly its Topiary Red, which I got to try last year after our chef visited.” —Wine director Andy Chabot, Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN (nominated for Outstanding Wine Service)
“The Long Island AVA includes the infamous Hamptons and successfully produces cool-climate reds and whites. We enjoy the crisp whites and Bordeaux-
One of the most plugged-in wine personalities we know, Natalie MacLean leads the new-media pack. We got in touch with the JBF Award winner to hear what she had to say about her new app, Natalie MacLean Wine Picks & Pairings, and the survival of traditional media.
JBF: Tell us about your new app. What are the coolest features?
NM: Natalie MacLean Wine Picks & Pairings just launched a few weeks ago. It’s essentially ten apps rolled into one. It’s available for iPhone and BlackBerry, with a mobile site for other smartphone platforms. We're currently testing the Android version.
With this new app, you can walk into any store and use your phone to scan a wine bottle’... Read more >
This column usually features a Q&A with one of our favorite award–winning wine experts, but for our DIY issue, we turned to JBF associate editor Anna Mowry, who makes and jars her own gem-toned wine jellies. Follow this simple recipe, adapted from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff, and you’ll have a unique spread that’s perfect on toast, with cheese, or even in your morning oatmeal. It also makes for a sweet Valentine’s Day gift.
Yield: 5 half-pint jars
3 pounds tart apples, such as
6 cups water
One 750-milliliter bottle wine
3 cups pectin stock
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
To make the pectin stock, stem and quarter the apples. (Do not peel or remove the cores.) Place the apples and water in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil for 30–40 minutes. Strain the contents of the saucepan through a large chinois or fine-mesh sieve, but do not press down on the solids. Once all of the liquid has been strained, you should have about 5 cups. (This can... Read more >
Rumor has it that the Mayflower was originally bound for Georgia but ended up docking at Plymouth Rock because the ship had run out of beer. Colin Alevras, the beverage director at David Chang’s Momofuku and Má Pêche, thinks the Pilgrims had their priorities straight. Below, he explains why beer is a perfect match for the Thanksgiving meal.
Before you get suckered into drinking some mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau swill for the holidays, don’t forget about beverages other than wine for your Thanksgiving dinner. The nature of this holiday meal itself—long, varied, and tethering back and forth between sweet and savory—calls for beverages that are low in alcohol content and versatile enough to be paired with a wide selection of food. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you beer: an excellent beverage choice for your next Thanksgiving.
Beer has just as much variety in flavors and textures as wine. With the recent resurgence of microbreweries, it’s easy to access great local, regional, and heritage beers. Beer is also affordable, a bonus during the indulgences of the holiday season.
The kinds of beer that come to mind for the... Read more >
Bernard Sun oversees the wine program at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants, including Jean Georges, which won the 2010 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service. Here he tells us about his preferred summer wine and notable green producers.
Q: What are your favorite wines to drink in the summer?
A: That’s easy: a Rosé from either Provence or Tavel. I look to Provence for something light and with minerality, Tavel for something flavorful and rich. As a matter of fact, we are serving a 2009 Château de Manissy Tavel Rosé at Matsugen right now, and it’s delicious.
Q: What are some under-the-radar wine regions that you think consumers should get to know better?
A: The world is pretty small now. There are not too many places left that are truly “under the radar,” although I did recently taste some fairly impressive wines from Canada’s Okanagan region in British Columbia.
Q: You recently appeared on Martha Stewart Radio to talk about green wines. Are there any particular green-wine producers that you recommend?
A: At our newly opened ABC Kitchen, where the theme is green... Read more >
We asked beverage expert and 2010 JBF Awards spirits chair Steve Olson about the newest trend in spirits and how he slakes his thirst in the summer. You can learn more about his education and consulting company, aka wine geek, at akawinegeek.com.
Q: What do you drink to cool down in the summer?
A: I love a good, cold, handcrafted beer in the summer. I also enjoy aromatic white wines, like a Sigalas Assyrtiko from Santorini, and tall, cool cocktails, such as a Southside (made with Tanqueray No. Ten gin and mint) or citrus-based drinks like a caipirinha (made with cachaça and fresh limes).
Q: In this issue we’re featuring barbecue trivia. What do you like to drink with barbecue?
A: To me, barbecue is summer, so all of the drinks I mentioned apply! That said, when I actually have the ribs on my plate (and the ’cue sauce on my fingers), what could be better than a perfectly made margarita with 100 percent agave tequila (such as Chinaco), Grand Marnier, and fresh lime juice?
Q: We’ve read that gin is making a comeback. What other... Read more >
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