Memorial Day 2020 – A Guide to Some of Our Favorite Portable Libations

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These days it seems that the only grasp we have on what day it is comes in the nuanced celebration of holidays, birthdays, and other events that could-have-been-but-were-not. Given that everything in 2020 is effectively cancelled, 2021 (with any luck) just got a whole lot busier for all of us, and this kind of joint hardship will make our next in-person meeting that much more special.

While we recognize that social distancing on holidays traditionally meant to unite us makes these occasions that much harder, we‘re hoping for some good weather and a cozy outdoor (or indoor!) space to toast to our ancestors, whether it’s with a can, flask, half-bottle, or bag!

We see this unofficial start of Summer as a fun opportunity to highlight some of our more portable formats, for your porch, for your pool, for your balcony, for your studio apartment – for all!

BY THE CAN

THE PINOT PROJECT

The Pinot Project began in 2009 with a vision: a wine for the palate, the pocket, and the people. Michael Skurnik called on his experiences in the vineyards and cellars of Northern California to craft a silky, fruit-forward, and well-balanced Pinot Noir. Since then, The Pinot Project lineup has expanded to include a Pinot Grigio, a Rosé and a Chardonnay called The Chard Project.  The brand has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best values on the market.

Pinot Noir, ‘California’, The Pinot Project

Handcrafted from high-quality Sonoma County, Monterey, and Central Coast vineyards. Cool garnet in color with aromas of pomegranate and fresh roses, this 100% Pinot Noir is balanced on the palate with notes of black cherry and five-spice with a smooth, lingering finish. 20% of the blend spends 5 months in a blend of French and American Oak.

Rosé ‘Italy’, The Pinot Project

Elegant, pale pink in color.  Enticing aromas of delicate wild berry fruits with a hint of orange blossom.  This refreshing charmer offers plenty of juicy white peach and fresh-picked raspberry.  The wine finishes clean with a bright, zippy burst of acidity.

Pinot Grigio ‘Washington’ [4-PK 250ml CANS], The Pinot Project

Pale yellow in color with a hint of legume green. On the nose, pleasant aromas of white flowers, Granny Smith Apple and lemon zest.  A crisp and palate-cleansing wine with balanced acidity and good structure. This fresh and persistent Pinot Grigio finishes clean and bright.

AH-SO

It is hard not to notice today that many wines are based on marketing, a fancy logo, and maybe a feel-good story. Though we may have a fun story and a great design, we also know that great wine starts in the vineyard, no matter the packaging. This is why our wine is produced exclusively from Carlos Lopez de Lacalle’s family vineyards in Navarra, Spain.

Navarra Tinto [4-pk 250mL CANS], Ah-So

100% Garnacha from the Lopez de Lacalle family estate in Navarra, Spain. Situated in the town of Artazu, the site is organically farmed (no pesticides or herbicides are ever used) and features 25-year-old vines grown in clay-limestone soil. The grapes are always harvested in small batches, sorted by hand, and fermented naturally.

Navarra Rosado [4-pk 250mL CANS], Ah-So

The world’s first estate-grown, estate-canned wine, Ah-So Rosado is made from 100% Garnacha from the López de Lacalle (Artadi) family’s vineyards in Navarra. It’s cultivated organically and hand-harvested from 25-year-old vines grown at low yields on clay/limestone soils for truly impeccable quality.

Navarra Blanco [4-pk 250mL CANS], Ah-So

100% Garnacha Blanca from the Lopez de Lacalle family estate in Navarra, Spain. Situated in the town of Artazu, the site is organically farmed (no pesticides or herbicides are ever used) and features 24+ year old vines grown in clay-limestone soil. The grapes are always harvested in small batches, sorted by hand, and pressed naturally.

NOVO FOGO

Made from the juice of freshly pressed sugarcane, cachaça is the national spirit of Brazil. Novo Fogo makes cachaça using organic, estate-grown sugarcane in a small town called Morretes on the edge of the Atlantic Rainforest. Salty sea breezes meet the largest protected patch of rainforest in southern Brazil, resulting in the vibrant taste in every Novo Fogo bottle.

Mango Sparkling Caipirinha [4 x 200mL Cans], Novo Fogo

Novo Fogo presents an exciting twist on the national cocktail of Brazil by adding mango to the classic caipirinha. Aromas of lychee and peach gummies are balanced by a note of grilled jicama and an elegant, white tea finish. Enjoying a compelling and well-balanced cocktail has never been easier! 8.5% ABV

Lime Sparkling Caipirinha [4 x 200mL Cans], Novo Fogo

The world’s most popular cocktail has been carbonated and canned, and it tastes as a proper Caipirinha should! Each can has a volume of 6.8 ounces and an ABV of 8.2% for a perfectly portioned vacation in a can.

Passionfruit Sparkling Caipirinha [4 x 200mL Cans], Novo Fogo

If passion fruit alone is evocative of sun-drenched getaways, imagine what happens when you add it to a caipirinha! Brazil’s national cocktail is made even more refreshing with a sweet-tart kiss of passion fruit, all in a perfectly portioned serving at a quaffable 8.2 % ABV.

GREENHOOK GIN

Greenhook is an incredibly exciting and ambitious project coming from Brooklyn native, Steven DeAngelo. Greenhook utilizes cutting edge distillation technique and impeccable base materials to make a spectacular gin. It works wonderfully as a blending partner in a balanced cocktail but also has the complexity to stand on its own. We have truly found ourselves a gem under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Gin & Tonic [4 x 200mL Cans], Greenhook Ginsmiths

In the mood for a highball? Never has a Gin and Tonic been easier or more enjoyable! Greenhook Ginsmiths have taken their award-winning American Dry Gin and combined it with the perfect amount of homemade tonic, all in a can that makes it easy to imbibe. At 12% ABV, this Gin & Tonic is ready for any outdoor fun. Just pop the top and enjoy!

BY THE FLASK

LA MEDIDA MEZCAL

La Medida Mezcal (“the measure”) is a collaborative brand created by Julián Vidal Gómez Rodríguez, who has been one of the unsung icons of Oaxacan mezcal for over 40 years.  Alongside his son, Julián works in concert with several highly regarded mezcaleros in Miahuatlan, San Baltazar Guelavila, and Río Golea (including the enigmatic legend Don Celso, who co-founded the brand) to showcase a diverse range of wild and cultivated single-varietal bottlings.

Mezcal Espadín, La Medida

This legendary Espadín, which speaks deeply of varietal and place, has bold fruit and hints of hard cheese on the nose with a minerality, weight and early musculature on the palate.

Mezcal Tobala, La Medida

This classic Tobalá has a strong balance between earth, smoke, and sweet yam. Smooth and crisp on the palate with a dry finish and a rich mouthfeel.

Mezcal Madrecuishe, La Medida

A balance of fruity and vegetal notes is a hallmark of the distillate, implying everything from leafy green herbs to sweet carrots to raspberry seeds. An ideal example of this beloved varietal.

Mezcal Tepeztate, La Medida

The Tepeztate is arguably the most varietally consistent agave in distillation. Notes of green bananas, soft flowers, bell peppers, and melons recur in numerous examples, and La Medida has a benchmark example.

REY CAMPERO

With over 70 years of experience, Rey Campero represents the culture and tradition of Candelaria Yegolé, a small village in the Sierra Sur, in the municipality of Zoquitlán. Helmed by Romulo Sanchez Parada, this collective of brothers, cousins, and nephews chose the name Rey Campero, meaning “King of the Countryside”, to reflect the relationship between the landscape and those who work so tirelessly to harvest the magueys from this challenging terrain.

Espadín, Rey Campero

The Espadín from Rey Campero blossoms on the palate in a bouquet of green herbs with big notes of oregano and coriander.

Cuishe, Rey Campero

The light-on-its-feet character of this mezcal belies the feisty A. karwinskii varietal from which it was made. Tomatillo, ginger, and orange fruit dance on the palate, followed by a delicate note of honeydew.

Jabali, Rey Campero

Rey Campero’s Jabalí exhibits a flamboyant and sweaty nose before breaking into orange zest and slate on the palate. Chalk, tropical fruit, and rawhide push and pull on the dynamic finish.

Mexicano, Rey Campero

This expression of the popular varietal from the A. rhodacantha family exhibits an enticing combination of wet cedar and orchard fruit, with a delicate finish of white flowers.

Tepeztate, Rey Campero

White flowers and yellow pepper lay the foundation for an expressive mid-palate of coriander and banana leaf and a textbook Tepextate finish of Szechuan peppercorn.

BY THE CUP & JUICE BOX

Genshu Sake ‘Lucky Dog’ [30-PK 180ml TETRA PAK], Maneki Wanko

While an unusual format in the US the sake pack is very common in Japan, a lightweight and portable way to enjoy sake under cherry blossoms in a park, for a riverside picnic or while reading the paper on a train ride home from work.  Made in Nada in Hyogo, famed for Miyamizu, an excellent mineral rich water source perfect for sake making.  Hyogo sake is known for balance and this is no exception: soft and light, creamy and smooth, not overly sweet or dry, plenty of flavor and character.

Junmai Sake, ‘Yeti’, Yuki Otoko

A classic dry sake inspired by local lore, Yuki Otoko is the bigfoot or yeti of Niigata, the area where this sake is made.  He is said to haunt its snowy mountains and occasionally help travelers through the mountain trails. An excellent intro to classic Niigata sake, dry, clean, creamy texture. Rice is Miyama Nishiki milled to 60%, water is soft from an underground current originating at Mt. Makihata.

Sake, ‘Classic’, Kirinzan

While breweries love to showcase their premium ginjo styles Kirinzan take immense pride in their entry level ‘futsu-shu’ meant for everyday drinking. Made entirely from rice grown by small farmers a couple miles from the brewery. Rice is premium Gohyaku Mangoku sake rice polished to 65%, beyond requirements for even the premium honjozo grade. Made in the house style, it is dry, clean, light bodied, well balanced. Notes of hazelnut and toasted rice that makes it excellent both chilled or gently warmed.

BY THE HALF BOTTLE

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut

Didier Gimonnet is the second generation of growers to direct this superb estate, with 28 hectares of holdings in grand and premier cru villages, predominantly in the Côte de Blancs. The winery is in the premier cru village of Cuis where Didier’s family has been growing grapes since 1750. Pierre Gimonnet, Dider’s Grandfather, started bottling estate champagnes in 1935.

100% Chardonnay from the 1er cru village of Cuis in the Côtes de Blancs. A perfect crisp, and zippy style of Champagne.

 

Geoffroy Rosé de Saignée Brut

Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, who has 14 hectares in the Vallée de la Marne, is the fifth generation in his family to grow grapes in the region. While his family has always made a little wine, they began to emphasize Champagne production in the hard years following World War II, when they were unable to sell their grapes to the big houses. In the 1970’s Jean-Baptiste’s father, René, decided to keep all the grapes and turn them into Champagne.

All Pinot Noir from the 2014 vintage, the color comes from use of the “saignée” method – a bleeding of the juice from the grapes with extended maceration with the skins. Juicy, spicy and more serious style of Rosé Champagne.

Crème de Pamplemousse Rose (Pink Grapefruit), Giffard

The Creme de Pamplemousse Rose is made by extracting the essential oils found in grapefruit peels through steam distillation. This keeps the liqueur true to the fruit with a bright aromatic quality and the balanced bitterness and tartness of fresh pink grapefruit. This liqueur smells of fresh-cut grapefruit with a hint of sweetness. On the palate, juicy citrus notes play with the grapefruit’s natural acidity.

To make a Kir Rosé…

Build in wine glass over ice:

Stir lightly to incorporate. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

BY THE BOX

THORIN

Thorin has been making high-quality, inexpensive table wine for decades. From the vineyards of the French countryside (includign sites in and around Burgundy), these are honestly made, balanced wines that surpass their modest price point.

Cuvee des Chevaliers [RED], Thorin [Bag in Box]

Full-bodied and silky, the red is a bold and spicy blend of primarily Pinot Noir, Gamay and Grenache from the magic terroirs of the French countryside. The satin-laced fruit bursts from the glass with fresh picked strawberries, black raspberry and wild dark cherries.

Cuvee des Chevaliers [WHITE], Thorin [Bag in Box]

A crisp Chardonnay and Chenin based blend from clay-limestone soils in and around Burgundy. This brilliant white is fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel to maintain a pure and balanced mouthfeel.

Château Laulerie

The Dubard family are the proprietor of this humble Chateau, found in the rolling hills of Bergerac in the Southwest of France. Being just east of Bordeaux, this area has long been overhsadowed by its more famous neighbor, but in recent years has become an insider secret for being the home of excepetional Bordeaux-esque wines at great values.

Bergerac Sauvignon Blanc, Laulerie [Bag in Box]

100% Sauvignon Blanc planted to clay and limestone soil. Classically mineral, with laser-pure flavors of bright citrus and honeysuckle. Indigenous yeast. Aged in stainless steel. HEV certified sustainable.