Raphael Lyon — or, as I like to call him, Johnny Apple Mead — began making his distinctive, dry apple “wines” (by law, he can’t label them as wine, but when you taste them you’ll understand why that’s a better term) in the early aughts using apples from his family’s upstate farm, but didn’t take it to a professional level until just a few years ago. Since then, he’s caught the eye of shops like Chambers Street Wines, Dandelion, Spuyten Duyvil, and the mixology stylings of PDT’s venerable Jim Meehan, who called me up personally to hunt down Lyons and his wares this time last year after reading the story we ran about him in 2010.
While Lyon sells small amounts to the above-mentioned purveyors of all-things deliciously quenchable, it’s via his CSA-model that you get to taste the special releases that don’t go to the rest of the world at large (yup, he’s actually exporting out of state these days — you can’t keep a good mead maker down). This week, Lyon is opening up 30 new shares for his CSA and three new vintages will be included in the half case ($135/6 bottles) or full case ($250/12 bottles) share:
The CAS II is an unfiltered, brut-style sparkling apple cherry mead. It smells like fresh, just-chomped-into apple and strawberry, but is crazy cracker dry in your mouth. Says Lyons: “It’s a pink Champagne for the beach.”
Rubacouri – A dry rose-style apple and elderberry mead smells like cherries and flowers, and, says Lyon, “Is supposed to be like session wine – you can just drink it on porch.”
Finally, the 375ml size Saint Crimson is a black-mead style sipper along the lines of a cassis, that’s great over ice or mixed up in the concoction of your choice. Stay tuned for a recipe coming up from Lyon’s buddy Arley Marks of Mission Chinese, who’s developing a drink with this as you read….
To sign up, click here. Shares are available for pick-up on July 31st or August 2nd, or via UPS.