June 19, 2024

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Sober Travelers Find Something to Savor in Wine Country

2 min read

At Cyrus, a Michelin-starred fine dining destination in Geyserville, Calif., the answer is a resounding yes. Sonoma County, double the size of neighboring Napa, made conscious decisions to protect and diversify its land use, ensuring grapes as well as agricultural crops were grown. Douglas Keane, Cyrus’s owner and chef, highlights the local harvest by working with small farms and purveyors to source his ingredients. Crosnes — a Chinese artichoke — from Alexander Valley Vineyards gardens, yuzu and finger limes from the citrus grower David Levine, and cheese from Andante Dairy have all ended up on Cyrus’s menu.

Also on the menu: Kally, an alcohol-free wine alternative produced with housemade organic verjuice and sourced from Northern California. Served at more than 15 other Michelin-starred restaurants, Kally’s bottles include Early Chardonnay, which is crisp, bright and changes flavor and aroma as it moves across the palate, similar to a fine wine. A tart, vibrant Golden Sparkler has notes of jasmine and citrus, and a floral, fruity Rosé Sparkler offers hints of strawberry and hibiscus.

“Chefs and sommeliers are interested in having precise nonalcoholic pairings. Their food was created to be prepared with sophisticated drinks, not just sparkling water,” said Scott Mitic, who created the beverage along with his wife, Katie.

Customers, too, appreciate having a choice, he said, noting that many of Kally’s most loyal drinkers are wine enthusiasts. “This is not an abstinence movement; it is a moderation movement.”

Cyrus Schultz, the wine director and sommelier at Cyrus, aims to create drinks that make sober guests feel just as special, if not more, than those indulging in traditional wine pairings. His nonalcoholic creations include the Rosé Champagne, an effervescent blend of coconut, white sesame, cherry blossom and lime, and the Apple Martini, a sweet, herbaceous concoction of pink lady apple, fennel and mint olive oil.

Christine Chitnis

2024-04-17 09:02:36

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