Fri 16 Sep 2016
I returned from a five-day trip, and LL said, “Get some more of that stuff.”
“Um, what stuff?” I said, barely in the door.
“That Jardesca stuff. It’s delicious.”
Now, my wine-writing/-blogging colleagues and I endure tides of emails from marketers promoting new cocktail recipes and possibilities, most of which sound awful. (“You’ll love our rose hip bitters with rye!”) The message I received from the Olive and Poppy company, however, was polite and informative, not pushy or gushy. The product was Jardesca, an aperitif beverage made in Sonoma County, a combination of three white wines and an eau de vie flavored with 10 botanicals. So, I said, Sure, send me a bottle.
Typically, the manufacturer is reticent about revealing what the wines and botanicals are, though I believe that among the latter are pink peppercorns, pink grapefruit rind and bay laurel.
What I know is that the stuff is intriguing, tasty and highly individual. When I was safely back in the kitchen, LL poured some Jardesca over ice and handed it to me, and indeed that’s a perfectly appropriate way to drink it. However, I added a squeeze of lime, a few basil leaves and a splash of sparkling water. This was a truly attractive and slightly mysterious cocktail.
Jardesca’s color is pale yellow-gold with green highlights; the tantalizing bouquet segues from cucumber, verbena and green olive to lemongrass, ginger and green tea. A few moments of contemplation bring out notes of gardenia and lilac, wood smoke and almond skin. A fleeting hint of sweetness characterizes the entry, but this is mainly dry, even sliding to bone-dry on the finish. The entire package is animated by bright acidity for crispness and a lively nature.
As a fortified wine, Jardesca hits 18 percent alcohol. It strikes me as more of a Spring and Summer thing than Fall and Winter, but it could probably be accoutered to accompany the days that dwindle down to a precious few. Price is $30 for a standard 750 milliliter bottle. Available only in California and Florida, but the company will be happy to fill online orders at jardesca.com.