From new wine blends by Gia Coppola to a Korean rice beer that’s about to be everywhere, here are the latest tantalizing libations to arrive in California
Words by MARIE LOOK
For many erring on the side of caution during this pandemic, the act of meeting friends for drinks now feels like a distant memory, and it’s difficult to know when, exactly, it will be a thing once more. Have you been missing the ritual of poring over an establishment’s drink menu with an enthusiasm for trying something new and different? Does your regular rotation of tried-and-true beverages just need a shake-up? Here are a handful of newcomers to pair with your dinner, enjoy during at-home picnic in the yard or sip while relaxing by your pool. After all, there’s still plenty of summer left.
AVALINE co-founders KATHERINE POWER and CAMERON DIAZ. Photo by Justin Coit.
Entrepreneur Katherine Power and actor and wellness author Cameron Diaz started developing their clean wine brand together in 2018, well before the pandemic would disrupt our daily lives. But the debut of Avaline couldn’t be more perfectly timed, arriving during an era when more people than ever are opting to have their food and beverage delivered, plus are looking for ways to celebrate quiet moments at home. “As Cameron and I spent two years developing, tasting and refining Avaline, we could never have imagined the world in which we all find ourselves today,” says Power, also the founder of Clique Brands. “But it’s clear to us that, as we navigate the important complexities of 2020, it has become more vital than ever to find joy in small, everyday moments.” The brand has launched with two offerings: a white (a dry Spanish wine with a crisp finish) and a rosé (a light French wine with notes of melon and zest), both made with organic grapes and free of extra sugars, colors or concentrates. Diaz explains, “One of the first conversations Katherine and I had about making a cleaner wine was, ‘What are we going to add to it?’ We soon learned it wasn’t what you added, it’s what you didn’t add.” $39/Avaline Tasting Duo at wine.com; available soon directly from Avaline.
VOLLEY Sharp Grapefruit spiked seltzer.
If you’re in the market for a summer beverage that’s low-calorie, refreshing and responsibly crafted, Volley was made for you. Newly founded by husband-and-wife team Christopher Wirth and Camila Soriano, the drink is made with just three ultraclean ingredients: sparkling water, organic juice and blue agave tequila. Sip any one of the four flavors — Zesty Lime, Spicy Ginger, Sharp Grapefruit and Tropical Mango — from Volley’s chic white cans and know that each contains fewer than 110 calories. Though Wirth and Soriano run the business from South Carolina, Volley’s executive vice president, Diane Svehlak, is a longtime Orange County resident with more than 20 years of experience developing beverages with major brands like Beam Suntory and William Grant & Sons. With Svehlak’s West Coast connections, we suspect Californians will have the pleasure of sipping Volley long before other parts of the country start seeing the cans everywhere; in the meantime, you can purchase the tequila-forward seltzer through the Volley website. Just in case you need one more reason to love the brand: Wirth and Soriano partnered with Leave No Trace for Outdoor Ethics to fund educational events and cleanups for public spaces around the country this summer. $14/four cans.
MAKKU’s sweet and subtly tangy makgeolli comes in Blueberry, Mango and Original flavors.
Although makgeolli dates back to the 10th century, making it one of the world’s oldest forms of alcohol, the creamy (but dairy-free), sweet and subtly tangy Korean drink has only just started trending among craft beverage makers and patrons. One person pressing the movement forward is Carol Pak, who founded her brand Makku in the United States after visiting a makgeolli bar in Korea in 2017, when she learned that there are more than 700 small-scale, Korean makgeolli breweries, each crafting a version unique to its terroir. Pak decided the “rice beer” libation would be ripe for a following back in the U.S. if she could develop a version that combined traditional brewing techniques with all-natural ingredients. Several months and many failed at-home brewing experiments later, the results are Makku, which now comes in Mango, Blueberry and Original flavors. Available to ship nationwide through Craft Beer Kings, the brand is now also available at select California retailers and establishments. $4/can.
GIA COPPOLA WINE’s new SanGia red blend by FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA WINERY.
Gia Coppola Wine Collection
Francis Ford Coppola Winery has just debuted two new, first-of-its-kind sips in the company’s Gia Coppola collection: an orange wine and a sangria, with both bottles featuring photos taken by Gia herself. The former, made with 100-percent California riesling grapes from Lake County, is an unfiltered wine with surprising notes of quince, kumquat, clove and honeydew — a perfect complement to fresh seafood dishes, or cheese and charcuterie boards. For the second offering, called SanGia, winemaker Jordan Costello combined a California pinot noir that’s sourced, fermented and aged at the winery with natural flavorings and Great Women Spirits’ Agnesi 1799 brandy, resulting in an elevated take on everyone’s favorite summertime staple — here cherry, strawberry and orange peel mingle with baking spices for a delicious and aromatic sangria that can be enjoyed over ice or mixed into your favorite at-home drink recipes. Through the end of August, $5 from every bottle of SanGia and orange wine purchased will be donated to Allies in Arts, a nonprofit supporting womxn, BIPOC and LGBTQQIA2S artists by awarding grants, curating exhibitions and screenings, and fostering connections between decision-makers and artists who are looking for creative work. $20/bottle or $15/bottle for wine club members.
THE SQUEAKY DOOR, a limited-time collaboration between PAUL FEIG and REDBIRD bar director TOBIN SHEA featuring ARTINGSTALL’S Brilliant London Dry Gin.
The Squeaky Door
Tobin Shea, bar director at Downtown Los Angeles modern American restaurant Redbird, and Hollywood heavyweight Paul Feig mined the award-winning director and producer’s cocktail recipe archives recently for a very good cause. The pair have crafted a limited-time bottled cocktail called The Squeaky Door, with 100 percent of the proceeds from sales to benefit the Redbird scholarship fund with C-CAP for Black students. Featuring Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin mixed with cherry liqueur, elderflower liqueur, orange Curaçao and lemon, the concoction serves two and can be ordered through the end of July for takeout or delivery, a festive accompaniment to mains from chef Neal Fraser — a co-owner along with Amy Knoll — like the Liberty duck with wild rice, plums and a piquant XO sauce; or the vegetarian rigatoni with foraged mushrooms, Thomcord grapes, rosemary and just the right amount of fiore sardo. $20/bottle that serves two.
Feature image: AVALINE’s newly launched wines, a white and a rosé.
July 27, 2020
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