Winemaking Tartrates For Candied Orange Peels

The grape-y secret ingredient to candied orange peel

Hank Beckmeyer of La Clarine Farm in the Sierra Foothills is one of our favorite California winemakers, so we say the following with all due respect: Our first sniff of his 2010 Syrah was a painful experience.

Granted, we were smelling the acrid tartrate crystals left over from aging that 2010 Syrah. And we were smelling them in the unlikeliest of situations; they were waved in front of our noses by Jessica Koslow, owner of Los Angeles's SQIRL Preserves.

Large-scale wineries sell their tartrates to bulk processors who use them to make cream of tartar, an essential ingredient for baking and preserving. But Koslow, who is fiercely dedicated to local sourcing, discovered a more creative use for Beckmeyer's unprocessed tartrates.

Koslow adds the deep maroon tartrates to SQIRL's fennel-scented candied orange peel. The tartrates keep the sugar in the candied peel from crystallizing, which yields plumper candy ($12; click here to purchase).

Back to the bottle: La Clarine's new Syrah will be released in the coming months, and it's bound to smell–and taste–amazing.