CSA Sippin’: Enlightenment Wine Opens Up More Shares

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 personally called me 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) per 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 Lyon: “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.


Amy Zavatto

Amy Zavatto is the daughter of an old school Italian butcher who used to sell bay scallops alongside steaks, and is also the former Deputy Editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She holds her Level III Certification in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, and contributes to Imbibe, Whisky Advocate, SOMMJournal, Liquor.com, and others. She is the author of Forager's Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients and The Architecture of the Cocktail. She's stomped around vineyards from the Finger Lakes to the Loire Valley and toured distilleries everywhere from Kentucky to Jalisco to the Highlands of Scotland. When not doing all those other things, Amy is the Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance.

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