MARGUERITE THOMAS

The Evening’s Opening Embrace

“American winemakers have recently jumped on the serious vermouth bandwagon.  Quady led the way with Vya, and Sutton Cellars also produces a savory dry vermouth.  I was recently introduced to a new California Aperitif wine named Jardesca ($30).  Made from three white grape varieties including Alexander Valley Viognier, which contributes charming floral notes, plus eau de vie from San Francisco’s Essential Alambic Distillery, it is enticing and delicious.  Among Jardesca’s botanicals, bay laurel adds a distinctive California note, pink peppercorns contribute spiciness, and grapefruit peel introduces a citrusy component plus a hint of bitterness, though this aperitiva leans more towards smooth than bitter.  Jardesca is superb on its own, served on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon.  And if you feel like adding a splash of gin, trust me–I know from experience you won’t be disappointed.”

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