Thursday, October 02, 2008

Spirits Among Us

Former Walla Walla winemaker, Berle W. "Rusty" Figgins has added a new chapter to his career - from viticulturist to winemaker and now a distiller. Many wine lovers and locals may remember Figgins as one of the first to introduce Syrah to the State of Washington, especially Eastern Washington. From syrah in the vineyard, later Figgins was one of the founders and the winemaker for Glen Fiona Winery in Walla Walla. Glen Fiona is known for producing Rhone-style wines.

After producing wines for North Star in Walla Walla and Cave B Estate Winery located at George, WA, Figgin’s newest project is distilled spirits - - which is a natural progression for those who want to explore beyond fermentation. Thinking beyond wine, the next natural step is to distill brandy, since brandy is distilled directly from wine. Figgins feels there is a place for brandy where ever there is a prosperous wine industry. In the mean time, Figgins has left the winery at George and will operate Dynamic Alambic Artisan Distillers located in Eastern Washington's Grant County at Mattawa.

Future products will include a style of "Limoncello," a lemon digestivo liqueur with Italian roots, and style of "Sambuca," an anise liqueur also with Italian roots. Figgins feels the potential is there to include an apple brandy, like France's Calvados, since Washington is the apple capital of the world. Cheers!

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