Profile: Will Schragis
From The Alcohol Professor
Will Schragis works as a Spirits Buyer and Marketing Associate at Zachys Fine Wine located in Scarsdale, New York. Before this desk job, he worked as a Sommelier, Bartender, and Bourbon Distiller. Will graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a Liberal Arts degree in the wonderfully vague discipline of “American Studies”. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America Accelerated Wine and Beverage Program in Napa Valley, California. In 2011, Will watched the West Wing in its entirety.
NoteStreams By Will Schragis
Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite wine decision of the year. There are so many angles from which to approach the pairing, and so many different flavors and consistencies on the table at the same time. Most fun to me is balancing the emotional and historical part of the meal with what the food calls for. It is so much more about Thanksgiving as an event than it is about the wine and food paring. The stakes aren’t so high – nobody is there just for the wine, and so Thanksgiving can be an opportunity to push the envelope a bit, so long as there are sufficient bottles.
Though Normandy is home to many old apple brandy producers, many of whom enjoy the AOC Calvados distinction, there are very few restrictions and designations to govern labeling outside of France. This makes for a huge amount of variation from product to product. That being said, the type of apple used to make each brandy has a very large impact on the final product and can be used, in some cases, to predict what “the style the brandy inside” will be.
One wonderful thing about American apple brandy is that apples grow differently in many parts of the country. Moreover, every climate affects brandy maturation differently, giving us varying regional styles to enjoy. Included are a few of my favorites from around the world!
Thanksgiving wine pairings are daunting. Everything on the plate seems to call for a different match. Turkey is subtle, but gravy is salty and intensely flavored; Yams are generally sweet and mellow while cranberry sauce demands high acid. Thanksgiving also comes around the same time of year as the annual Beaujolais craze, and that is a wonderful pairing in itself.
As the person charged with picking wine for my family, and writing about it for this website (ahem), this is a conundrum but also an exciting opportunity to take some chances!