In the Spring of 2017, Boston's own Max Rose converted a totally filthy underground storage space into a rudimentary winery and started trying to figure out how it all worked.
Chertok is Max's mother’s family name meaning ‘little cherti’ referring to the pre-Christian, Russian spirits that were believed to inhabit the world alongside us. There’d be a cherti in your wood stove, another in your stable, a cherti would live in the centuries old tree near your house and one would prowl the nearby pond. When the Church arrived, the Cherti were literally demonized, recast as the enemies of holiness. Max says "I suppose I’m a bit puckish and the maligned but actually well-meaning impish creatures really appealed to me, so Chertok Wines!"
The idea is pretty simple: make authentically New England country wine. He's whipping up rustic, natural wines that taste like home, working with vineyards and orchards all over Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts to source the fruit. The winery space didn’t have running water and he did everything with hand tools and peasant gear. These are truly truly rustic, handmade products bottled sans soufre, avec schmutz!
The mainstay product of the Chertok line, Wine(ish) is made with a whacky technique wherein a whole bunch of nearly fermented out grape must is added over freshly milled apples to help facilitate the breakdown of the apples and extract a broader array of flavors.
Essentially an enriched cider with a small portion of grape must added to one quarter of the base wines. The apples were sweated for 3-4 weeks before milling and a month long maceration with repeated pressing. Bottled with 15 ppm added sulfite.
Al ong-aged, late harvest rendition of Wine(ish) made from partially raisinated Marquette and apples from centenarian trees of unknown varieties at Jim Buckle's farm in Maine.
A whole-cluster cofermentation of several different New Hampshire grown, alpine table grape varieties, gently foot trod with daily, gentle punchdowns until fermentation completes before manual pressing to glass for gross lees aging.
A whole-cluster cofermentation of Chardonnel with a small portion of Noiret from Umass Amherst's Cold Stone Orchard. Aged in glass on gross lees. Racked twice before bottling to introduce oxygen.
Pure Marquette from Ellison Estate Vineyard on the Eastern Banks of Grand Isle overlooking lake Champlain. Whole cluster and gradually foot crushed, pressed to glass for aging.
A cofermentation of Crescent, Frontenac Noir and Marquette fermented as the other grape wines then pressed to Onggi made by potter Adam Field and aged with stems and skins for 6 months before pressing to glass.
MIDRASH (BLACK LABEL)
Whole cluster St. Croix from Ellison Estate vineyard. Aged two years in glass on gross lees, racked once to blend and decanted before bottling.