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Capovilla spirits are truly labors of love. The Bassano bottling consists of pommace from a variety of grapes from Vicenza. The secret to the rich, broad flavors is the rare still that Vittorio Gianni Capovilla uses. Called a bain-marie still, it heats the pommace at low temperatures to maintain the grape flavors and not create the offensive, alcoholic tones that mars many more commercial Grappa productions. We are extremely happy that Jan d'Amore has decided to import these spirits, and strongly recommend that Grappa and Eau-de-vie fans try them. JR
This is a single variety grappa bottling featuring the wonderfully aromatic "Uva Moscota Fior d'Arancio." Vittorio Gianni Capovilla uses his rare bain-marie still to slowly distill and preserve the lively honey and citrus qualities of the grape. Grappa fans will note the extreme purity and freshness of the spirit and applaud Jan d'Amore for bringing it to the American market. John Rankin
The 2000 Bacco fully exudes the traditional Château de Briat house style: decadent, yet complex and structured, with a focus on new oak. Again, from the diary of John Rankin: On the nose it is luscious with sweet caramel, the chewy soft kind, and orange zest rising from the glass. On the palate it is rich and silky – very drinkable – with a touch of spice and a sugary milk chocolate finish. With this flavor profile and the château’s affinity for new oak, this would be a fantastic crossover spirit for Bourbon lovers! Tim Gagnon
The Dudognon Reserve is one of the best values in Cognac. Made without additives or coloring, it's a pale gold color with subtle citrus and white fruit aromas. The palate is clean and long with tea, earth, citrus and spice. Far superior to the brand-name VS or VSOP blends and really worth trying.
The Dupont estate has been producing Calvados, cider, and cheese since it was founded in 1890. Their orchards are planted to thirteen varieties in chalky, marl-heavy soils and no pesticides or herbicides are used at any time. Their Vieille Reserve is a blend of twice-distilled Calvados, of which the youngest is 5 years old. It is aged in 50% new French oak barrels which lends a softer, more decadent spirit than one might expect from products similar in age. Juicy green apple, sea salt, and caramel (the soft chewy kind) abound on the nose with a touch of walnuts and cinnamon. The palate is also quite round and luscious with more caramel backed by baked apple, vanilla, black pepper, and tart tatin that lead into a salty, mineral-laden finish. A delicious Calvados for a great price! Tim Gagnon
Guillon-Painturaud's VSOP is a fantastic 15 year old Cognac that punches way above its price point. This spirit is all about fresh orange and sweet marmalade fruits with plenty of cut. We are happy to be able to carry this independent producer's fantastic Cognac, and the 15 hectare estate that can trace its history back to 1610 is an exciting find. JR
Our Chambers Street selection of Calvados was distilled in 2002 and was aged in a barrel that previously held cider and Pommeau (cider and Calvados blended together). From the diary of John Rankin: The barrel that we bought has candied apple and toffee cream flavors and is surprisingly juicy and fruit-forward, even with a fair amount of age and alcohol percentage. It shows the influence of Pommeau and cider more than barrel, along with richness and a long finish of exotic citrus and dark-toned flowers. Tim Gagnon
The Marolo Milla is a liqueur made from and infusion of Chamomile flowers in grappa. Perfumed on the nose and lightly sweet and silken on the palate, this makes for a mellow, smooth, and soothing after-dinner digestif. John McIlwain
Montreuil is a collaboration between Calvados importer and guru Charles Neal and Patrice Giard – heir to the bucolic Giard estate in the hamlet of Montreuil. Cows (primarily used for their milk) provide the majority of the farm’s revenue, but the property has made quite a name for itself for their library of aged Calvados still in barrel that will be released under the Giard label. The Montreuil label represents barrels averaging 7 years old that provide rich, apple fruit with a touch of wood vanillin and toffee sweetness. A great value for sipping, but also not too dear to use as a stand-in for American applejack in classic cocktails like a Jack Rose:2 ounces apple brandy or calvados, ¾ ounce lime or lemon juice, and ¾ ounce grenadine; served up. John Rankin
This exquisitely clear apple brandy comes in one of the cutest printed packages in the store, but that shouldn’t be the only reason for you to buy it. The fact is that this is one of the most delicious ways to experience New York’s abundant apple crop’s flavors. The apples growing on Neversink’s organic farm were selected for their high acid and high tannic character (not great for eating, but essential to creating delicious ciders and spirits). The mash is then twice distilled which makes for a bright, delicate spirit that truly showcases the quality of the raw ingredients used. In Europe, brandies like this are enjoyed neat after dinner but current cocktail creators are experimenting with all sorts of uses: the most simple being a touch of sugar and a squeeze of citrus for an apple-infused take on a Sour. Tim Gagnon
Orchard Hill was started in 2005 by all-around spirits guru, Karl du Hoffman, in the Hudson Valley town of New Hampton, NY. They focus on two products here - cider and pommeau - and we were thrilled to be able to get our hands on the latter. Inspired by the famed Normandy elixir of calvados and non-alcoholic sweet cider, Karl wanted to make a product that was true to the apples of the Hudson Valley yet echoed centuries of pommeau production in France. Aptly named Ten66 after the Norman Invasion of England in the year 1066, this is a blend of 3-10 year-old apple brandy and cider of various vintages from 2005-2012 that have been aged in used French oak barrels from wineries on Long Island (that held Merlot or Chardonnay in their previous life). Apple butter, apple cobbler, caramel, toasted nutmeg, and baked cherry come to mind on the nose which hint at what is found on the palate. It is juicy with deeper notes of caramel and spice. This is delicious served slightly chilled as an aperitif but would be equally good with a cheese course after dinner! Tim Gagnon
Located in the heart of Cognac's premier cru "Grand Champagne," the Beau family has a long history of making exceptional artisan Cognacs. The Beaus use old wooden barrels and a majority of Ugni Blanc to facilitate a clear expression of terroir. This creates an absolutely lovely spirit that has been aged an average of thirty years, well over the requirements to label "Hors d'Age." The perfect after-dinner drink with a balance of dried fruit and very nice minerality. JR
This Armagnac shows a vibrant orange color with hints of caramel. Tastes mature, but even after 24 years in cask there is a grippy quality and some citrus-toned fruit. This is an excellent introduction to vintage Armagnac and a fabulous value. John Rankin
This is the best value traditional Armagnac that we have found. Pellehaut combines the traditional rich Ugni Blanc with some Folle Blanche for a delightful floral lift. JR