Sauvage Distillery has unveiled Upstate Vodka, a spirit distilled from 100% New York State apples. Crafted in the tiny hamlet of Charlotteville, New York, the vodka aims to showcase the bounty of the region’s orchards in the form of a clean and complex spirit that is naturally slightly sweeter, and much smoother than a vodka made with wheat or grain. Each certified gluten-free and Kosher bottle contains around 70-80 local apples.
Upstate Vodka is crafted at The Sauvage Distillery, located on 20 acres in Charlotteville, home to just over 200 people in Schoharie County. Sauvage tapped Distiller Ken Wortz, a native New Yorker and artisanal distiller, to devise a process to create a special spirit from the fruit grown in this unique climate. New York is the second-largest apple producing state, home to more than 700 orchards – the Sauvage Distillery plays host to wild apple trees that are over 100-years-old and still bearing fruit.
To craft a bottle of Upstate Vodka, Wortz presses local apples and turns them into a liquid. The liquid is then fermented with Kosher yeast – a process that takes three times as long as it does with grain – and then twice-distilled in 16 and 18-plate, two-column stills.
Upstate Vodka benefits from the different types of sweet apples grown throughout the region. Whether a Spy Gold, Cortland, Kingston Black or Liberty, each type of apple has a different tannin profile, and these are key to rounding out the spirit’s flavor profile. The region’s famously clean water also makes a difference. The Sauvage Distillery taps into the clear waters that make up the New York state watershed. The same water that flows through New York City’s taps nourishes the mineral-rich soils of the surrounding orchards during a growing season of cool nights and long summer days.
The result is a clean and smooth spirit. Expect a light and crisp mouthfeel, with hints of soft apple on the nose, a rich, creamy and dense palate with a soft finish that carries hints of apple. The brand recommends enjoying the vodka over ice or as part of a cocktail.
The label, designed by Stranger & Stranger, also reminds consumers of the work and care that goes into any bottle. It is meant to echo a whiskey label, signifying the craft and time that is spent making it. “A vodka like this takes time, not technology,” says Wortz. “Making vodka from grain is surely less expensive, but we’re committed to a product that is truly handcrafted and at its core, an agricultural product.“
Bottled at 40% ABV, Upstate Vodka is available for $29.99 per 750ml at selected liquor stores across New York State and Connecticut and ships to 30 states online via Sauvage Distillery’s Online Bottle Shop.