I have to admit to having only learned of WaterAid earlier this year. I don't believe in coincidences, so when I was asked by a friend if I might be interested in tasting a wine whose mission is to benefit this very worthy cause, I had to get myself on the train to Brooklyn to check it out.
Stark Thirst is a project founded by Kerstin Krall Walz, an advertising industry refugee who has turned to the wine business to add something not only to her life, but to the lives of many others. Those whose priority in life is not which wine goes with dinner, but where will the next drink of clean water come from.
Through Stark Thirst and the partnership with WaterAid, Kerstin has already given 200 people clean water through life. That number is set to increase as Stark Thirst continues to donate 10% of its profits to WaterAid.
This sort of charitable partnering is rare in the wine industry, yet it seems to be not only a natural fit but so terribly intuitive that it's surprising that it's taken so long to come about. Enjoy your wine and at the same time ensure another human being access to clean water. It's a win-win situation, and frankly it's the right thing to do.
So how about the wine? The first wine in the Stark Thirst line-up is an unbaked Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley. Grown in shale-based soils at an elevation of 4550 feet, it's a wine that is sapid and fresh, very food friendly and ideal for cooling off this summer.
Lovely green apple peel and mineral notes combine on the nose with a light citrus tang. In the mouth, this is round and slightly soft in a fruit-driven style that manages to be fruity but also bright, with a gently acid-driven mineral snap on the slightly leesy finish. It's a rather pure and precise rendition of Chardonnay with not a lot of winemaking in evidence, just a lovely expression of grape and place.
So there you have it. Stark Thirst may be tough to find this year, I believe at the moment it is available exclusively through the Chelsea Wine Vault here in New York City, but it's a brand you should be aware of. You can track its retailers through the Stark Thirst website, so keep your eyes out for future releases. The wine is good and is one you can feel good about drinking!