Shana Martin 2017-09-05 09:49:20
Smaller, wider bottles offer a new twist on traditional wine packaging. Anyone who has tasted Italian Asiago cheese alongside Chianti or French Brie with Beaujolais knows that Europeans are time-honored experts at pairing wine with cheese. Another European custom that is making its mark on American wine culture is innovative wine packaging. “Our 500-milliliter Skin Fermented Chardonnay has a different vinification process than our other chardonnays,” explains Andrew Mariani, who, alongside his brother Adam, runs Scribe Winery in Sonoma, California. Mariani attributes the age-old tradition of differently formatted bottles for the many skin-contact fermentation producers of Europe as a key source of inspiration for Scribe’s nontraditional packaging. “Since everything about that wine is atypical, we felt the bottle should be as well,” Mariani adds. Like many of Scribe’s offerings, it was an experiment that led to the Skin Fermented Chardonnay. During the winemaking process, when 809 clone grapes weren’t providing the desired results, vintners took a different approach—fermenting them on the skins. This led to an “expressive, golden-hued wine,” which is sold in a shorter bottle and has become one of Scribe’s annual releases. A few miles down the road, at Ca’ Momi Winery in Napa Valley, the design of its short, fat bottle—called the “corta”—was inspired by an ancient handblown bottle created for Italian royalty. Smaller, purse-sized bottles are not the only popular alternative to traditional bottles. La Sirena winemaker Heidi Barrett’s creation, Pirate TreasuRed, is a dry wine though its bottle shape resembles a port. “The design sort of took on a life of its own and reflects the personality of the wine,” says Barrett of the pirate-themed packaging, partially inspired by the seven different varietals used in the wine. While some may see these unique vessels as a passing trend, wine connoisseur and sommelier Patrick Cappiello views the shift as an ongoing development. “We’re reaching a tipping point in our American wine culture—a newfound openness and excitement about wine that proves the changes happening in alternative packaging is not just a trend—it’s here to stay.” Greg Scheinfeld, who co-created Uproot Wines, also believes the smaller, 500-milliliter bottle such as the one that houses Uproot’s Gray Edition sauvignon blanc could catch on. “These innovations released in limited supply will definitely impact the bottle of the future—but the wine business is slow to change.” Uproot Wines produced only 77 cases of the 2011 Gray Edition sauvignon blanc and sold out of the varietal, which was aged an extra nine months for fuller body and creaminess worthy of a special bottle. For wine experts like Cappiello, the bottle is about more than just convenience and aesthetics. “Alternative packaging reflects a new generation of wine drinkers—millennials—who care deeply about the environment and are using their creativity to reach sustainable solutions.” Innovative tools for wine enthusiasts The 2015 SKIN FERMENTED CHARDONNAY by Scribe Winery began as an experiment. La Sirena’s PIRATE TREASURED is a blend of seven different red varietals. THE CORAVIN MODEL TWO WINE SYSTEM allows you to enjoy your favorite wines by the glass without corking. A thin needle inserted through the cork lets you pour wine without oxidizing the full bottle. Each Coravin Capsule allows up to fifteen 5-ounce glasses of wine to be poured, from $299.95, at bloomingdales.com and neimanmarcus.com. Luigi Bormioli’s Italian-made GATTO DECANTER is a fluidlystyled piece blown from pure crystalline glass. It holds 50 ounces in its elegantly designed bottle, which is also a great conversation piece and perfect for wine tastings, $45, at shop.luigibormioli.com. Neiman Marcus ROGASKA EXPERT “X” DECANTER is a 48-ounce double decanter handcrafted of mouth-blown, lead-free crystal that can serve two red wines, or a white and a red wine, or even sparkling and flat water, $240, at neimanmarcus.com. Scribe Winery recently came out with UNA LOU ROSE—a traditional, 12-ounce beer can filled with fresh rosé that can be consumed quickly after release, $40 per fourpack, at scribewinery.com The VINTURI RED WINE AERATOR AND TOWER is a tall holding tower that mixes just the right amount of air with your wine for a better bouquet and enhanced flavor. The contemporary design of the tower complements Vinturi aerators and accents any table, countertop or home bar, $60, at Iwawine.com. The ÜLLO WINE PURIFIER is a revolutionary product that uses Selective Sulfite Capture technology to remove sulfites and sediments, bringing wine back to its natural state. The purifier comes with a travel bag and filters, $79.99, at bloomingdales.com.
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