Friday, October 1, 2010

The Key to the Appetite Unlocks American Market

I wrote a small item for the October issue of Wine Enthusiast about Bonal Gentiane Quina, another great find from Eric Seed, and a wonderful aperitif (if not quite as wonderful as that other recent Seed aperitif import, Cocchi Americano):

Minnesota-based liquor importer Haus Alpenz's Eric Seed is a master at sleuthing out obscure but great elixirs and bringing them to the attention of the American public. He's the man's who recently improved the U.S.'s vermouth lot ten-fold by shipping in the Dolin line. His latest find in Bonal Gentiane Quina ($25), an French aperitif wine that has been made since 1865. It's treasured overseas, but disappeared from these shores around 1940. Now it's back. A Mistrelle base infused with gentian, cinchona and herbs found in the Grand Chartreuse mountains, Bonal has a dry, bitter, bracing bite that effortlessly unlocks the appetite. Hence it's longtime nickname, "ouvre l'appetit" ("the key to the appetite") and the presence of a long skeleton key on the distinctive yellow label. As with more classic aperitifs—including Haus Alpenz's other excellent recent import, Cocchi Americano, from Italy—it's best appreciated straight, on the rocks or with a twist. Doubtless, that won't dissuade bartenders from tinkering with Bonal. But there's so much complexity in this quaff that it hardly needs added guests to make the party more interesting. 
—Robert Simonson

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