Author: Laura Ness

5 to Try: Pétillant Naturel

Pétillant naturel, aka Pét-Nat, is the original way sparkling wines were made before the advent of méthode champenoise, which is why it’s also known as méthode ancienne. Basically, it’s wine that’s still fermenting, which means it’s far less labor-intensive, not to mention far less time-consuming and expensive, than its better-known counterpart. Because Pét-Nat is not filtered, it can have a cloudy appearance, especially with rosés and reds. Unlike Champagne, which undergoes two fermentations, the second of which happens in the bottle and can take months (if not years), Pét-Nat is youthful and effervescent—sometimes to the point of being explosive....

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Inside Wine: How Winemakers Set Their Brands Apart

Winemakers have many tools for differentiating their brands, and it’s fun to see the creativity used to set one wine brand apart from another. Alex Krause and John Locke of Birichino Winery in Santa Cruz, Calif., draw inspiration for their labels from Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Nordic People), a 16th century manuscript chronicling life in the land of Vikings, which contains close to 500 woodcuts. “WQe’ve found that, with so many choices, we can find an image which elegantly portrays the narrative of the vineyard or variety we use,” says Locke. A Pinot Noir from George...

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5 to Try: A sampling of canned beverages for thirsty adults

At first, I was a wee bit skeptical, but I’ve become a complete fan of cans. They sure beat hauling around bottles of wine, cider, or big jugs of cocktails when you’re going to a game, hiking, camping, motorcycling, or hanging out at the beach. Here are five makers who hit the mark. (For more on canned beverages, read “Yes We Can.”)   Backpack Wines These cute, beautifully decorated 250mL cans really are perfect for purses and backpacks. The rosé, made of Pinot Blanc and Sangiovese from Washington state, offers crisp peach and strawberry flavors, with a nice tartness. Bright...

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Yes We Can: Beverage producers are embracing cans as a convenient and sustainable packaging option.

When the first canned beer, a joint effort of Gottfried Krueger Brewing and the American Can Company (ACC), hit the U.S. market in 1935, it became an instant hit. ACC had spent years developing a tin can that was properly pressurized and with an interior coating that would keep the beverage from interacting with the metal. In those early days, cans didn’t require a deposit. They were also lighter to ship, easier to stack, and faster to chill. The seal was tighter than a bottle cap so freshness could be maintained longer, no light could penetrate and damage flavors,...

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Making Spirits Bright: Gift Ideas for the Imbibers on Your List

’Tis the time of year to celebrate, raise a glass (or three), and let those around you know how much they mean to you. If you’re searching for just the right something for a colleague, neighbor, loved one, or even for yourself, we’ve compiled some of the best gift ideas for those in the beverage business—or those who just like to drink. From classy to silly to WTF, you’ll find it here. For a Spirited December Advent Calendars filled with booze will put anyone in the proper holidaze state of mind. Available in American whiskey, Armagnac, bourbon, Cognac, gin,...

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