When you think of 40-ouncers, you probably think of malt liquor: Colt 45 or Olde English 800, aka the kind of cheap, high-alcohol swill best drunk out of a brown paper bag.
You probably don’t think of an organically farmed, light, crisp Muscadet with “mineral aromatics” or a blushing rosé. Award-winning New York sommelier Patrick Cappiello wants to change that with his new endeavor: Forty Ounce Wines.
Last spring, Cappiello and his business partner, Chris Desor, teamed up with their friend Julien Braud, a winemaker in France’s Loire Valley, to release Forty Ounce Muscadet. And now, just in time for rosé season, they’re launching Forty Ounce Rosé.
The idea hit Cappiello and Desor while they were visiting Braud in Muscadet, in the western part of the Loire Valley. They happened to notice a bottle in Braud’s cellar that was “strikingly similar in shape to the 40 oz. malt liquor bottles I drank in my youth — when I spent most of my time on a skateboard,” Cappiello tells FN Dish.
Turned it out Braud used the 1-liter bottles for grape juice, which he sells locally. Cappiello and Desor asked Braud about using the bottles for wine, and he was amenable, but he wondered about his American visitors’ enthusiasm.
“We gave Julien the history of 40 oz. bottles, and then explained how we saw this as an opportunity to help remove some of the pretense traditionally associated with wine,” Cappiello says. “It’s been a personal quest of mine to connect with young people and help them get excited about wine.”
People did get excited about Braud’s Muscadet, a dry wine with a light, crisp, refreshing flavor, and the “large-format” packaging, and last season’s Forty Ounce vintage sold out fast, prompting this year’s follow-up (due out in early May) and the expansion into rosé.
Forty Ounce Rosé, currently available nationwide, is also dry, with floral aromatics and a “fruity, spicy and crisp flavor profile,” says Cappiello.
As for future plans, Cappiello says, “We have been discussing the possibility of a very light bodied red.”
Brown paper bag not included.
Photo courtesy of Evan Sung