“Like rye, bourbon is required to have a 51 percent specific grain component, this time of corn. A Kentucky origin isn’t necessary for a bourbon designation: it can be made in any of the States, though it must be aged in charred new-oak barrels. Enter the Long Island Sound–cooled wine country of the North Fork on New York’s Long Island: the Rough Rider distillery opened there in 2007, the island’s first since the 1800s. Its Straight Bourbon Whisky—the ‘straight’ means it was aged for at least two years in those oak barrels—was further aged in ex-merlot and -chardonnay casks. At 60 percent corn (the rest is mostly rye, with a handful of malted barley thrown in), its notes are predominantly of medium-toasted caramel, with fruity and ash aromas in there, too, along with a lean, stony texture. A coffee chaser is its most obvious accompaniment. For food, go austere and bready: an English muffin, a Southern biscuit.”
“This second-generation-run winery is in Valpolicella Classico’s Sant'Ambrogio zone, comprised of 35 hectares planted with Corvina, Rondinella, and Oseleta grapevines, which are picked by hand come harvest time. With magazine and book recognition like Gambero Rosso's Tre Bicchieri award and inclusion as a vino dell'eccellenza in Le Guide de L'Espresso's Vini d'Italia 2016, Zenato's wines are rich, accessible expressions of traditional Valpolicella.
Falling just shy of a deep, opaque ruby color, this Amarone offers both fruit (prune, candied sour cherry) and heft (those tannins!) thanks to grapes (80 percent Corvina, 10 percent Rondinella, 10 percent Oseleta) that have been left to dry for up to four months. It's a simple, satisfying expression of this great wine style, and one in which the high percentage of Corvina and the addition of Oseleta can be tasted (and seen). Amarone from the Classico area is said to have a tannic quality similar to Barolo and Barbaresco: Zenato proves that true, while keeping to Valpolicella's fruitness.”
“Even for a non-grappa drinker, it's easy to understand why Kenta Goto is so excited to pour this beautiful almond-flavored grappa at his new Lower East Side Bar, Bar Goto, in New York. Produced by Bortolo Nardini—a pioneering Italian distillery that dates back to 1779 and has since been passed down through family members—this medium-bodied digestif tastes nutty and mildly reminiscent of red berries, with the intense flavor of bitter almond balanced by distilled cherry juice.”
“Just a handful of rosé sakes are produced in Japan, and Sakura Emaki is the only one made from a blend of two heirloom purple rice grains, Asamurasaki and Okunomurasaki. Dewatsuru Brewery in northern Japan is situated five minutes away from Hotta No Saku, ruins of a fort built during the Heian Era (792-1185 AD). When the historical site was excavated in the 1930s, ancient purple rice grains were discovered, and fifty years laters, through DNA analysis, scientists were able to link the rice back to the Heian Era. In the '90s, the rice was successfully re-cultivated and, using these grains, Dewatsuru Brewery then produced the first ever ancient purple rice rosé sake. This Futsu-shu, polished to 60 percent, has been exported to the US for the last year, and it's the only naturally pink sake available outside of Japan. The beautifully silky brewed rice drink carries a touch of sweetness, with a medium body and red berry flavors.”