This is a bit off-base, but I came across Wine Cellar Sorbets the other week and was blown away. I've never had Wine Sorbet, and to now find an entire range in tub form that I can scarf down at home...well, I'm a happy guy. The concept is pretty simple - real wine sorbets (5% Alcohol), low fat and about 1/4 the calories of ice cream.
I was so enamored I decided to track the company down and try to interview them. Turns out they are based 5 blocks from my apartment. Thanks to Bret Birnbaum, President of Wine Cellar Sorbets for conducting this interview:
What's the background behind Wine Cellar Sorbets?
- The idea for Wine Cellar Sorbets came about when David Zablocki, my childhood friend from Queens, and I were brainstorming menu ideas for a wine bar/restaurant we hoped to open in Brooklyn, NY. Dave came across wine sorbet while he was a chef out in Big Sur, California back in 2000 and had been making it ever since. Naturally Dave figured it would make a great addition for the wine bar. When I heard the idea, not only did I love it, but I also decided that it should be the focus of our new venture.
What are the challenges involved in making a wine sorbet and how does it differ from a regular sorbet?
- There are many challenges in making true wine sorbet. Since our goal is to make sure you taste the complex characteristics of the wine, we do not add additional flavorings such as fruit juice, berries, or fats like cream. (Our Sangria Rojo is the one exception) Therefore, we have the constant challenge of finding the "right" wines that make superb sorbets. It takes an educated wine palate to not only find the right wine but also know how to correctly process it into a tasty, smooth sorbet. Dave’s job is to search for the wines and work with the vintners so that our product line up is always top notch. It also means that each flavor is hand crafted and limited in quantity. When a particular vintage is gone, it’s gone. We do not blend vintages.
Where do you source the wines from?
- Currently we are buying our wine from California, New York and Spain but we plan to buy wines from all over the world. We have been talking with vineyards in Australia, Spain and South Africa that have expressed interest in co-branding. We would love to be an international brand.
I presume it's always a blend of wines in each sorbet, have you ever thought about making a special Cuvee of one winery or region?
- Currently, three of our varietals are Cuvee: Rielsing, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir. The lids of our pints show the vintage and the wine region from where the wine originated. Like I said before, when that vintage is gone, it’s gone, and will show the new vintage and origin on the lid. As wine nuts, we think that's pretty cool!
What's the best consumer recommendation you've had?
- I love what Florence Fabricant said in her review of us in the New York Times which was dropping a scoop of the Pinot Noir in her sparkling rose and found perfect harmony. A great compliment and a great suggestion!
Do you have a favorite sorbet recipe or serving suggestion?
- Dave has done some fabulous things with our sorbet like stuffing a pear poached in brandy with the Riesling and creating a Napoleon layering the Cabernet Sauvignon on each layer. The possibilities for pairings are endless. Think wine and food. Your dinner guests will be quite impressed!
What about people outside on NY, NJ and FL - how can they get their hands on some?
- We are expanding rapidly and will be in new regions of the U.S. soon but in the mean time, you can order a 4, 6, or 12 pack from our website and they will be shipped to your door.
- Reply by Nalu Kai, Feb 6, 2009.
...any in Australia? Would love to try it..
- Reply by Philip James, Feb 6, 2009.
Nalu - not that i know of, at least not by that company. Its pretty tasty stuff, so keep an eye open in case you see anything like it.
So, what part of Aus are you living in?
- Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Feb 6, 2009.
Next up, wine-infused chocolates. Someone gave me some a few months back, that they had had custom made. They were great.
I have no idea which artisanal chocolatier is injecting wine into chocolates, but if you come across them, they are worth trying too.
- Reply by aimeepawluk, Feb 7, 2009.
sounds yummy! will have to check it out when i visit my parents in ny :) thanks!!
- Reply by oceank8, Feb 8, 2009.
When I click "wine cellar sorbets" it takes me back to the forums page. Is there a link to these? They sound quite good.