If you’re looking for something different to drink around Valentine’s Day, then I suggest you get a bottle of Osocalis’ Rare Alambic Brandy ($45) as something special to share.
Osocalis is a small family-run distillery based in Soquel, where the art of brandy production is carried out using alambic Charentais stills, and aging is done in classic-sized oak cooperage. The Charentais still is made of copper and comes with a distinctive onion-shaped wine preheater—an intricate, archaic-looking contraption which looks like something the sorcerer’s apprentice might use. The Rare Alambic is made from several varietals, including Pinot Noir, Semillon and Colombard, and blended to reveal its rich fruit qualities and create a notable mouthful of fiery elegance.
Osocalis, the original Native American name for Soquel, is a small-production operation run by Daniel Farber and Jeff Emery—Farber being the founder and Emery coming on board as a partner and winemaker. Emery is also owner and winemaker at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, and the different brandies made by Osocalis are available at his tasting room in Santa Cruz. They can also be found at many local liquor stores—the Rare Alambic running about $40.
And try the Osocalis Apple Brandy, made from more than a dozen varieties of apples—all harvested in Northern California—and aged for almost a decade.
V Marketplace in Napa
Chiarello Family Vineyards has a very welcoming tasting room located inside the historic V Marketplace in Yountville where you can try their latest releases. Kollar Chocolates is just down the hallway, so I recommend sampling both wine and handmade chocolates—what’s not to love?
V Marketplace, 6525 Washington St., Yountville, 707-944-2870. vmarketplace.com.