Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Brooklyn Uncorked event hosted by Edible Manhattan. I was especially excited because the theme of the evening was New York wines. A few weeks ago I was supposed to go to the North Fork for a weekend of tasting with a couple of GF’s but inclement weather kept us city-bound and dry.
• The men of New York love pink. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised to see so many dudes swilling Rosé at a New York wine event (Rosé’s from Long Island were among the first NY wines deemed drinkable by the wine world at large), but I was bemused by the confidence with which so many guys stepped up and demanded a taste of the pink stuff.
• “Half and Half” is not just a dairy product. A lot of the wine makers were pouring Chardonnays that they were calling “half oaked”. These wines were half chardonnay that had been fermented in oak and half chardonnay that had been fermented in steel tanks. I can’t say that any of them were my favorite – they all tasted a little half baked but the concept was new and interesting.
• I didn’t see a single screw top. This struck me as really interesting especially because most of the wines last night were definitely being marketed as wallet-friendly and screw tops are an easy way to pass savings along to consumers. Perhaps this young wine industry is afraid of being construed as cheap and have stuck to cork in an attempt to seem old-school? Too bad I had at least one glass that came from a corked bottle last night…
• Gimmicks abounded. My favorite had to have been the wine called “Anomaly” that was being poured as a “white Pinot Noir”. Basically it was an non-sparkling Champagne (if the juice of Pinot Noir grapes is separated from the skins early on it will retain a white color – its only through prolonged contact with the skins that wines become red). Also, you’d think that in a post “white Zinfandel” world, you’d want to avoid calling your wine a “white Pinot Noir” or a “White Merlot”. Alas….
• One winery, called Channing Daughters, was serving a Friuliano – a fairly obscure wine made from the grape of the same name that hails from Northern Italy. It was a brave move and the wine was pretty good – also, their Rosé was one of my favorites.
• A quick note on the food: don’t serve giant fried batter-coated balls of fish-and-things-on-a-stick if you don’t want a lawsuit from someone who loses their sense of taste from trying to eat one. Cold pork belly does not taste good even if you serve it on a buttermilk biscuit. Minus any bonus points that would have been gained from the biscuit if the biscuit is hard. Do not pronounce “pistachios” as “pis-tass-ee-ohs” – you’re already serving Pâté, do you really have to convince us that you’re fancy? Lastly, although I feel bad that you’re standing behind a table of food that no one has touched all night, you’re the one that decided to serve liverwurst mousse.
• Finally, although I was really pulling for Long Island on this one, a lot of the wine from this region still has a long way to go. There was a lot of green wine (in the bad way), a lot of wine that was just too tight, and a lot of bitter aftertastes. Sadly, I found myself grimacing post-swig a little too often throughout the night. The exceptions were some really nice sparkling wines (my favorite was Sparkling Pointe’s Blanc de Blanc), some delicious Rosés, a delightfully smooth Cabernet Franc from a winemaker called Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, and the Channing Daughters’ Friulano.