Long before Patrick Cappiello became the nationally renowned sommelier behind innovative wine lists at Rebelle in New York and the new Walnut Street Cafe in University City, he was a skateboarding lover of hip-hop, tacos, and 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor. So it’s no wonder a light went off when he spotted a one-liter jug of grape juice while visiting winemaker Julien Braud in the Loire — and the idea was born to spread the wine gospel to millennials through an edgy new line of alternative packaging. Yes, there are actually just under 34 ounces in a liter. But the Forty Ounce Wine company that Capiello launched with importer Chris Desor and Braud has a hipster hook that took off over the last year, in part because their no-frills screw-top wink to Ole English 800 has punctured the notion of wine as stuffy, but especially because what’s inside those bottles is a great value. They’ve produced a rosé that virtually sold out in Pennsylvania this summer. A red is on the way for fall. But many who’ve followed these wines believe the electric Muscadet now in good stock is perhaps the best Forty yet. As Cappiello notes, Muscadet is a wine-geek darling, but it’s still an undervalued grape for the quality. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a $15 liter of white that has the character of this wine, with a cutting citrus acidity, good balance, and intense minerality on the finish that makes this Loire classic a perennial raw-bar star. So, with the extra 250 ml of wine in that liter bottle to account for, compared to the traditional 750 ml, I suppose that means I’ll just need to order an extra-large platter of oysters on the half-shell.
– Craig LaBan
Julien Braud Forty Ounce Muscadet 2016, $14.99 for 1-liter bottle in Pennsylvania (code 44749).