Category Archives: Wines

Georges Duboeuf Crus Beaujolais Vertical Seminar & 2013 Preview

Entry sign Beaujolais eventWelcoming sign

There’s been a bit of a gap in my posting cycle due to a few things, including a recipe testing project that I was asked to do for a cookbook soon to be published.  For weeks, though, I’d had a fixed time block in my diary for last Thursday where there was an invitation to attend a wine seminar and tasting event on behalf of Georges Duboeuf featuring different years of their Beaujolais along with a preview of the 2013 Crus served alongside small dishes of food.  It gave me a welcome break from the rest of my work schedule and provided me with some insights about this wine, which is much more versatile and flexible in terms of pairing with edibles than I’d previously realized.

Glasses for the tastingWines for vertical tasting

The first part of the program was a vertical tasting of different vintages of Beaujolais. Moderated by Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine, who walked us through tasting wines from 2013 as well as ones from earlier years, with the assistance of representatives from Georges DuboeufBeaujolais as a region was created in 1937 and includes 12 different wine appellations (a protected designation for a product), including 10 Crus (meaning from a specific vineyard or set of vines), with most of the production devoted to the Gamay grape.  As we were told, the area is as long as Napa Valley but “a wee bit narrower.”

Bottles on displayBeaujolais bottles on display

You might recognize the flowery Beaujolais-Village label.  Perhaps you’ve even taking part in a tasting or ventured to a restaurant that highlights the newest release with a special dinner.  I vividly remember the “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!” signs displayed all over Georgetown when I was still working in Washington, DC.  It impressed upon me the idea that this wine was meant to be drunk as soon as the most recent vintage arrived on our shores, a point that one of the panelists highlighted.

Beaujolais tasting notesTasting notes

These are “thirst-quenching wines,” he said, which creates the idea that they should be drunk in their early state.  Allowing them to age lets their structure develop, which doesn’t happen all that often, he added.  The vertical tasting was really eye-opening in this regard.  When I looked back at my tasting notes, I can definitely seen that progression.  The 2013s were “softer” and “rounder,” with lighter red berry flavors.  As we tasted the 2010 and 2009 vintages, my scribbles are more along the lines of “fuller,” “spice notes,” “deep purple berries.”  Sampling the wines that are just a few years old, I decipher the words “coffee,” “cocoa,” “amber notes,” “licorice,” “rich,” and “full.”  There’s even a side note on the Georges Duboeuf Moulin-à-Vent Cuvée Prestige 2005 that says “duck,” which highlights a possible, desired food pairing.

Kitchen getting everything readyKitchen getting ready

Or that could have been that I was ready for the walk-around and food and wine pairing portion of the program featuring the 2013 vintages from this winemaker.  This event was held at the Bouley Test Kitchen in Tribeca, so throughout the seminar, we could hear the sounds of wonderful dishes being put together for us to try later.  Chef David Bouley spoke to us about his own connections to the Georges Duboeuf family and Beaujolais, many of which derive from his time working as a young chef under Chef Paul Bocuse when they would head out and cook for the grape pickers.  “Beaujolais goes with any festive event here in the States,” he opined, citing it as a good Thanksgiving meal beverage.  He also mentioned that his French colleagues would chose the wine to go with their lunch, as it was light and went with whatever they had made for themselves to eat.


To start us all off and get us moving up from the tables, the staff greeted us at the entryway to the kitchen with a glass of the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Macon-Villages Domaine Les Chenevières, made with 100% Chardonnay grapes.  After swishing-and-spitting and inhaling the aromas of a selection of red wines for the previous hour, it was a bit of a tastebud shock to switch over a white.  They had laid out for us an assortment of cheeses and meats, including pork rillettes (seen in the foreground in the photo), salami, prosciutto, and a fois gras terrine to wake up our palates and to have us see how fatty, cured meats and aged dairy paired well with the wine.

Plate of BlinisBlinis with Smoked Salmon, Wild Truffle Honey, and Salmon Roe

Following the progression of folks around the tasting tables, I picked up the first nibble of Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Wild Truffle Honey, and Salmon Roe.  From the photo, you can see that these were no ordinary blinis, with their pillowy, lofty heights.  One bite and the delicate casing gave way to a wave of oceanic salinity tempered by an earthiness and mellow sweetness from the honey.  These were paired with the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuissé Domaine Beranger, also made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, which matched up beautifully to the combination of flavors from this small bite, leaving an impression of buttery richness on my tongue.

Lobster DishChatham Day Boat Lobster with Red Wine Sauce

Red wine with fish.  I know, it seems to break those “pairing rules” we were all brought up with, right?  At this tasting, a 2013 Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles (made with 100% Gamay grapes) was teamed up with a lobster dish that featured a red wine sauce and meaty mushrooms as garnish.  This shows that when put together with the proper components, even seafood can play well with red wines.

Gougeres with Comte'Gougères with Comté

Gougères are just the perfect little nibble to offer at a drinks gathering.  They are flexible and can be dressed up or down depending upon the cheese and other ingredients used to make them.  My beverage selection for these is usually something with bubbles (Prosecco, Cava, sparkling wine).  Here, they were accompanied by a 2013 Georges DuBoeuf Brouilly Château de Nervers (made with 100% Gamay grapes), which was a more robust pairing that my usual choice but still went well with these small bites.

Chicken Baked with Alfafa and Clover HoneyChicken Baked with Alfafa and Clover Honey

See that green dollop on the bottom of this bowl?  That is an interesting, piquant component of this dish that went really well with the soft, delicate chicken.  It is also a flavor that could prove challenging in a wine pairing.  There were two different wines to sample with this dish:  a 2013 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie Château des Déduits and a 2013 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie Domaine des Quatre Vents (both made with 100% Gamay grapes).  My preference was for the former vintage over the latter.  I just felt that it handled the sauce better without being overwhelmed by its strong taste while balancing out the other elements of the dish.

Grilled Marinated Duck with Pruneaux d'AgenGrilled Marinated Duck with Pruneaux d’Agen

As I mentioned above, I’d made a food pairing note about one of the wines as something that might go well with a duck dish.  The chef must have read my mind with this plate of grilled marinated duck served on a bed of creamy polenta and dressed with a sauce of Pruneaux d’Agen (a type of French prune).  This was a hearty but not overly heavy offering was presented with three different wine pairings to try.  My favorite match was the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Morgon Domaine Mont Chavy for the way that it picked up the dried fruit notes in the sauce as well as complementing the delicate flavors of the meat and the caramel notes of the cooked duck skin.  The other wines to sample with this were also of the Morgon label (all made with 100% Gamay grapes): a 2013 Georges Duboeuf Morgon and a 2013 Georges Duboeuf Morgon Jean-Ernest Descombes.

Kuzu Crisp with Black Truffle Pate' and AligoteKuzu Crisp with Black Truffle Paté and Aligote

This next small bite actually came with an advisory from Chef Bouley.  He and his team had been working on a gluten free cracker that they could use to serve with hors d’oeuvres – something light, yet substantial enough to support (physically and taste-wise) a variety of toppings.  He found it by using kuzu, which proved to be a delicious base for his black truffle paté with Aligote.  The 2013 Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans (made with 100% Gamay grapes) was a great pairing, taking on the creaminess of the sauce as well as the meaty, woodsiness of the truffle.  Those words of warning?  They were that we’d love it so much that we’d want everything to be served on this instead of on regular bread or crackers.  After eating these, we all agreed that he had been entirely correct.

Assorted Bouley Chocolate TrufflesAssorted Bouley Chocolate Truffles

After quite a few savory dishes, it was now time to sample the wines with something sweet.  A tray of assorted truffles, with different fillings, had been put together by the chef.  For me, I couldn’t decide if I enjoyed the chocolates more with the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Moulin-à-Vent Domaine des Rosiers or the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Moulin-à-Vent Rochegrès (both made with 100% Gamay grapes).  For me, they seemed to pair equally well.

Scrambled Duck Egg with Black TruffleSoft-scrambled Duck Egg with Black Truffles

Mini Gnocchi with Black Truffle SauceMini Gnocchi with Black Truffle Cream Sauce

I didn’t really have a chance to dwell on the chocolate-wine match for long, as the chef had the waiters bring out two additional, specially prepared, dishes from the kitchen. During his introduction, Chef Bouley had mentioned that he’d just received a shipment of truffles from Australia.  With them, he made those two luxurious dishes that you see in the photos above.  I filled my glass with some of the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Moulin-à-Vent Prestige (made with 100% Gamay grapes) to go along with them. It was an ideal combination. The wine held up to the richness and creaminess of both of the dishes as well as to the funkiness of the truffles that can sometimes drown out a lesser beverage.  These were the perfect dishes on which to end the afternoon’s tastings showing the breadth and depth of how wine works to enhance our enjoyment of food.

Buon appetito!

Thank you so much to the team at PadillaCRT for including me in this event.  The opinions on the wines and food and their pairings are mine alone.  For more information on Georges Duboeuf Wines and their company, please visit their website.

Brooklyn Uncorked 2014 by Edible Magazine

Brooklyn Uncorked signage

Every year I say this, and each year I mean it: Brooklyn Uncorked is one of my top favorite food (and wine) events of the year.  It’s also one of the events that I recommend to people to grab a ticket to when they ask me what local food festivals they should try to attend.  Local restaurants + local area vineyards = great food bites & wines.  It’s the perfect recipe for a fantastic evening.  As with the past few years, it was held at One Hanson Place in Brooklyn, which has some gorgeous architectural features, as you can see in some of the photos below.

Wine glasses at entryEmpty wine glasses waiting to be filled

Chef Annette Tomei and I teamed up to wander around and visit all the tables, food and wine alike.  Having been at this event the past few years, it was really nice to have a wing-person and also to get another viewpoint from a more trained set of tastebuds.  As we’ve worked together in the kitchen many times over the past couple of years, we have a familiar frame of reference and could shorthand some of our findings throughout our adventure.  The slideshow below shows a few of the things that we sampled.

I tried to capture as much as I could, but, inevitably, there were a few tables that we couldn’t get to due to the overwhelming number of folks who wanted to taste the various foods and wines.  There were also a couple of tables that were finished serving their dishes before we got around to them.  It was also lots of fun to bump into our friends and colleagues in the industry, which just made the evening feel even more like a giant celebration of the region’s culinary bounty.

The Good Fork - Mung Bean Pancake with Chilis, Perilla, and KimcheeThe Good Fork – Mung Bean Pancake with Chilis, Perilla, and Kimchee

Macari Early WineMacari Vineyards’ Early Wine

I even ran into one of my culinary school classmates who was helping out the team at the restaurant where he formerly used to work, The Good Fork, a returning participant.  They had one of our favorite pairings of the night, a tangy-spicy Mung Bean Pancake, which went really well with the bright fruit flavors of Macari Vineyards’ Early Wine.

Nightingale 9 - Vietnamese Tacos - Lemongrass Beef Tacos, Coconut, Cilantro, Lime, Chili-Peanut YogurtNightingale 9 – Vietnamese-style Tacos

Ravines Wine Cellars - RieslingRavines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling 2013

Tacos seemed to be the preferred vehicle for edibles this year.  There were lots of them served, as the photos show.  One pairing that I thought worked well was actually a table that we stopped at early in the evening.  Nightingale 9 offered Vietnamese-style Tacos composed of lemongrass beef , coconut, cilantro, lime, dressed with a chili-peanut yogurt.  In other words, this small plate had a lot of different levels of flavors – heat, spice, citrus – happening at the same time.  Fortunately, nearby were the folks from Ravines Wine Cellars who were pouring their 2013 Dry Riesling, which had just the right level of sweetness and acidity to work well with the taco.

No 7 - Double Decker Broccoli Tacos - Black Beans, Feta, Fried ShallotsNo. 7 – Double Decker Broccoli Tacos with Black Beans, Feta, and Fried Shallots

Marco Polo - Marinated Octopus - Mango, Lemon Yogurt, Black Quinoa, HerbsMarco Polo Ristorante – Marinated Octopus with Mango, Lemon Yogurt, Black Quinoa, and Herbs

A couple of other dishes that I thought were stand-outs for the evening – one taco and one non-taco – were the plates presented by No. 7 and Marco Polo Ristorante.  I went back (unashamedly) for seconds on the first dish and seriously contemplated doing another loop around the venue to grab a another plate of the second one.  Both of these had amazing flavor combinations with or without the addition of a wine pairing.

Bridge Lane - bottles on tableBridge Lane Wine

On the wine front, there were definitely some interesting vintages to sample.  Bridge Lane brought their boxed wine which are a whole different species of the unpleasant college experiences with the original boxed wines.  They also had a White Merlot, which was very intriguing and, when lightly chilled, has all the hallmarks of a perfect summertime food wine.  No surprise that I also enjoyed their Rosé, as they are the second label producer for Lieb Cellars, whose Rosé has been a go-to beverage of mine when I can find it on tap.

Brooklyn Winery selectionBrooklyn Winery

Another wine that I tasted at the event, that really made me say “Wow!” was the 2012 Barrel Fermented Riesling by Brooklyn Winery.  It has some of the same acidity as a traditional Riesling, but, having been fermented and aged in oak barrels, it comes out with extra earthy, funky notes due to the time spent in the wood rather than in stainless steel.  I sipped this wine independently of any food, and I’d like to spend some more time getting to know it and its particular personality.

Brooklyn Uncorked entry way2014 Participants

As always, there’s far to little room in a website post to cover all the wonderful food and drink that we had that evening.  Thank you to all the folks who made this event possible this year.  For information on the participating restaurants and vineyards from previous years, as well as to see photos of some of what was available to eat and drink, please see my write-ups from 2011, 2012, and 2013 (links take you to other pages on this website).

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Uncorked 2013 by Edible Magazine

Brooklyn Uncorked 2012 by Edible Magazine

Brooklyn Uncorked 2011 by Edible Magazine

Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website.  The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.

Vibrant Rioja and Your Thanksgiving Feast

Vibrant Rioja winesVibrant Rioja event

Rioja for your Thanksgiving feast? I know, it’s not a wine and food pairing that I wouldn’t have considered either, but after attending an event for Vibrant Rioja put on by Padilla/CRT last month, I wonder why I’d never thought of it before. Usually, the wines that we choose in our family for holiday meals come down to a. whatever is around b. whatever we can buy at the grocery store (being in Virginia you can do that, unlike in New York) or c. whatever I might have brought with me on my visit down South.  Food magazines offer suggestions for American Pinot Noirs or Zinfandels or some other vintage that happens to be the popular one of the season.  It all gets a bit confusing, not least because of the pressure to make a decision with the whole family relying upon my tastes, to the point where grabbing a beer from my dad’s stash just seems like the easiest route to go.

Wines and TapasWines and Tapas

Riojas tend to be low-acidity, food friendly wines, which was demonstrated to us that evening in the best way possible – by pairing different vintages with a variety of dishes.  The Marqués de Cáceres 2012 was the perfect way to get into the festive mood.  It’s bright pink color, berry notes and clean finish made this the perfect wine to enjoy while nibbling on sliced meats and Spanish tortilla while talking to the other attendees about what they do in the food business.

Chorizo Corn Bread StuffingChorizo Corn Bread Stuffing

My favorite pairing of the evening is one that would have pleased one of my wine instructors.  She taught us to pair smoky flavors with oaky wines.  Well, the Chorizo Corn Bread Stuffing, maybe something I can introduce to my family’s holiday table, worked beautifully with the round, ripe, deep, red fruit flavors of the Castillo Labastida Crianza 2010 which had been aged in American oak, picking up those notes.  It was a match that made me want to go back for seconds and thirds of the stuffing the balance between the wine and food were just so wonderful to enjoy together.

Dinner PlateDinner Plate

A wine that seemed to pair well with just about everything that we were served was the Conde de Valdemar Reserva 2006.  This wine was aged in American and French oak, combining the best characteristics of both while also letting the fruit flavors shine through on the palate.  We enjoyed it with the Duck in a Sherry-Citrus Sauce, the stuffing, the Carrots and Cauliflower in Romesco, and the Green Beans in Cream Sauce.  The diversity of tastes that this wine paired with would make it a great holiday meal partner.

Churros & Spicy Chocolate SauceChurros and Spicy Chocolate Sauce

For dessert, we had a wine that seemed to me to have a more sophisticated personality as well as a beautiful nose.  The Dinastia Vivanco Reserva 2005 was served alongside a platter of Churros and Spicy Chocolate Sauce.  The crisp, fried dough dusted with sugar dipped in rich, creamy chocolate with a kick of heat was a great balance with the wine, bringing out some of its spice notes.

Glasses of RiojaGlasses of Rioja

This year, I think I might try introducing Rioja to our holiday dinner table.  It might take some convincing, I know, given the entrenched tastes of my family members, but I’m game to try it.  I just really enjoyed how much these wines seemed to go so well with all the foods that we tried.  No matter what you serve for this holiday season, I hope that you are surrounded by family and friends and fellow wine-lovers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Scharf & Zoyer Pop-up Evening at Brooklyn Oenology

Scharf & Zoyer signScharf & Zoyer stand at Smorgasburg

For the past couple of months, I’ve been manning the grill at Scharf & Zoyer each Saturday at Smorgasburg.  Now, Noah Arenstein, the owner and creator of S&Z, has put together a one-night tasting at Brooklyn Oenology called Scharf & Schnickered where he’ll showcase some of the sandwiches for which his stand has become known at the market.  Interested in seeing how modern Jewish-style deli food pairs with beer and wine, maybe even how it goes down with a pickleback?  If so, you might want to check out this unique food & beverage event.

Scharf-Zoyer-menuScharf & Zoyer weekly menu

The menu has the fan favorite Kugel Double-down in sweet and savory versions, the Berber spice-inspired zucchini spread that we use on our breakfast sandwiches, and the tuna salad that goes into our really delicious tuna melt.  In the photo below, you can see how we usually serve these items at the market.  The dishes will be modified somewhat to be small portions so that guests can taste a bit of everything as they sip the beverages that the folks at BOE have selected to go with them.

Scharf & Zoyer - menu display plateS&Z Sandwich Menu Display

In addition, Noah is bringing back a couple of items that debuted at Smorgasburg, but he decided not to continue to carry, as they didn’t really find an audience at the market.  One of these was the chopped chicken liver.  It had many faithful followers, but it was a hard sell compared to some of the other things that we fix each week to bring with us.  There’s an interesting series of articles about S&Z in Serious Eats that talks about how a food vendor creates a concept and then works to make it all happen.  It goes into a bit more depth about the process for our menu development and selection.

Scharf & Zoyer saltine w pimento cheeseSalted Habanero Pimento Cheese on Saltine

Another of these items was his fantastic, spicy, creamy pimento cheese.  I know how great-tasting it is, because I took home a bunch of leftovers to work with on the last day we had it to sell.  As a very perishable food item, as are most of the things that we make, if we can’t sell it, it has to be discarded (sadly) or exchanged with other market vendors for things they haven’t been able to sell that day or we take it home to eat ourselves.  The pimento cheese found a home on my breakfast table when I used it on poached eggs to give them a bit of a kick.  I miss the fact that we don’t carry it anymore.

Scharf & Zoyer - cooking kugelHeating up the kugel for the double-down

So, if you want to treat your tastebuds to a new take on this cuisine, you might want to pick up a ticket to Scharf & Schnickered (click on the link to purchase them).  I’ll be there, too, cooking away and helping to prepare the dishes.  It takes place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25th at Brooklyn Oenology‘s tasting room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  There’s a limited number of tickets available.  This is a wonderful chance to taste products from two New York City food and wine entrepreneurs in one location and to support local business.

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Uncorked 2013 by Edible Magazine

Wineglasses at entrywayWineglasses at Brooklyn Uncorked 2013

One of my favorite events on the NYC culinary calendar each year is Brooklyn Uncorked, put on by Edible Magazine.  Local-area restaurants and New York State wineries, many from the Finger Lakes and Long Island, set up for an evening at a former bank building in Brooklyn to show guests the breadth of vintages and variety of small plates that they can create.  I really enjoy tasting the developments in the wine industry of this state, and, each year, I find more and more wines I’d like to add to my non-existent cellar (or maybe I can find some closet space for them).

Edible Magazine displayEdible Magazine display table

As with most events of this size, I didn’t quite get to make it around to every table before the food was gone, but I tasted quite a few wonderful pairings.  In some cases, the wineries worked hand-in-hand with the restaurants to create a dish, but in others the matches were done a little bit more on the spot, as I discovered.  Some of these worked for me, and some didn’t.  Here’s some of the more memorable match-ups of the evening for me, and some of the combinations that I wish had been put together.

Favorite Food & Wine Pairings:

Marco Polo Ristorante - Wild Boar RavioliMarco Polo Ristorante – Wild Boar Ravioli

Scarola Vineyards signScarola Vineyards – 2010 “Masseria” Merlot

It’s really difficult when one of the first food + wine taste of the evening basically knocks it out of the park for me.  The bar for everyone else is then set really high.  The Wild Boar Ravioli (ok, so they pretty much had me a “wild boar”) by Marco Polo Ristorante with its amazing aromas coming from the pan in which the portions were being reheated matched with a 2010 “Masseria” Merlot from Scarola Vineyards was the best savory bite I had all evening.  The fresh pasta filled with tender, succulent meat dressed in a sauce made with a reduction of the Merlot just hit every right note.  A sip of the wine revealed round full tannins and deep red berry and cherry flavors that balanced out each element of the pasta.  I thought about going back for more, but then I realized I was only at the start of the evening.

Rosewater - salmon w puff pastry, dill cream, rampsRose Water Restaurant – Smoked Salmon with puff pastry, dill cream, capers, ramps, and ramp oil

Wolffer Estate VineyardWölffer Estate – Classic White 2012

Another food and wine combination that I thought just worked really, really well was the Smoked Salmon nibble by Rose Water Restaurant with the Classic White 2012 by Wölffer Estate, who always turns out amazing wines year after year.  The acidity and crispness of the wine beautifully highlighted the buttery richness of the smoked salmon.  The citrus notes in the wine and the tartness of the capers and ramp oil pulled this whole bite together.  The only other wine I would like to have tried this with, perhaps, is my current pick for Summer 2013 quaff, which is the new 2012 Social Club White, another perfect seafood wine, by Brooklyn Oenology, who was also at this event.

Cleaver Co - Rhubarb Brown Butter Cakes & Dark Chocolate TrianglesThe Cleaver Co. – Rhubarb Brown Butter Cakes & Dark Chocolate Triangles

Macari - wine pairing for dessertMacari Vineyards – 2010 Block E

I am so not a fan of sweet wines, and it has taken me quite a bit of time in my wine education to appreciate the subtlety and nuances that many dessert wines can have and how, with the right food, they can actually be delicious and partner very well with food.  My favorite dessert pairing of the evening was definitely the Rhubarb Cupcake by The Cleaver Co. with Macari Vineyards 2010 Block E.  The tartness of the rhubarb and richness of the brown butter cake were an ideal match for fruit and sweet notes of the wine.  The wine itself is done in the ice wine style which gave it a lightness and clean finish that I don’t usually experience with dessert beverages.

Great bites that I wanted to see paired with beer:

Gramercy Tavern - Smoked Kielbasa w Tarentaise & Country MustardGramercy Tavern – Smoked Kielbasa with Tarentaise and Country Mustard

I know, I know, this is a wine event, not a beer one.  Good Beer Month is still a few weeks away (in July).  Still, when I tasted the porky goodness of Gramercy Tavern’s kielbasa dressed with creamy slaw, spicy mustard, and a pop of caraway, I really just wanted to sit down with a whole plate of these around a big table of family and friends, glasses of lager in hand.  I mentioned this to Chef Michael Anthony, who was manning the station at the event, and he agreed completely; however, he told me I’d have to talk to the organizers about that.  Coincidentally, Brian Halweil, the editor of the magazines, was standing right there.  He didn’t comment on my remarks, but we took some time to compare notes on what we’d eaten and drank so far.

The Vanderbilt - Rampwurst w Spring Pea SlawThe Vanderbilt – Rampwurst with Spring Pea Slaw

Another dish that was just begging to be matched up with beer as well was the Rampwurst with spring pea slaw by The Vanderbilt.  I had to give them major creativity points, too, for coming up with another use for ramps, which are now heading out of season, that I’d never tried before.  The garlicky-herbal green was perfect mixed into the sausage meat.  The cool, crisp slaw with the grassy freshness of the peas was a wonderful combination.  This was definitely more of a beer-appropriate than a wine-friendly dish.

Pairings I would have like to have seen:

Watty & Meg - Tuna Tartare Taco with Pickled Spicy VegetablesWatty & Meg – Tuna Tartare taco with Spicy Vegetables

Bedell Cellars wine bottleBedell Cellars – 2011 Taste White

As I mentioned above, some of the pairings this year just seemed a little bit off to me.  The tuna tartare taco from Watty & Meg (of which I could have had a few), needed a great, crisp, aromatic wine to balance out the buttery tuna and the spicy mixed vegetables.  When I asked one of the wineries nearby to their table, they didn’t have a beverage that they’d paired up with this dish.  My pick would have been the 2001 Taste White from Bedell Cellars with its tropical flavors and slight sweetness to tame those spicy notes and make you go back for bite after bite of the taco.

Cookshop - Olive Oil Cake w Strawberries & MascarponeCookshop – Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone topped with Pistachios

Macari Vineyards - pouring dessert wineMacari Vineyards – 2010 Block E

Another match-up I would have made at the event was to take the dessert wine by Macari Vineyards that I enjoyed so much and tasted it alongside the Olive oil cake with strawberries and mascarpone by Cookshop.  I’d heard raves about this dish so even though it was towards the end of the evening, and I felt I’d reached my saturation point on the food and beverage front, something that does happen at these activities, I picked up a plate and walked away to a table to eat it.  Moist cake, tart berries, creamy cheese, crunchy nuts all came together in a perfect bite.  Unfortunately, many of the stations had been broken down by this point, and they were no longer serving wine, so I couldn’t put my theory to the test.

Most-used seasonal ingredient:

Palo Santo - Ramp Taco w cheesePaolo Santo – Ramp Taco

I have to give a special nod to the most-used seasonal ingredient.  You guessed it: Ramps!  By my count, this product turned up in no fewer than three dishes I tried and was used twice in one of them.  It might even have been stealthily included in a few others as well.  Next year, I’m expecting to see it in desserts – kidding, really, I’m kidding.

ALC Italian Grocery - all goneALC Italian Grocery – all finished for 2013

This is a terrific event that continues to bring great food and wine to us each year. The folks I talked to as we nibbled on our dishes and sipped local beverages all seemed to be having a great time and were really impressed by the variety of the wines and the caliber of the food offerings. The only dissent that I heard was that there seemed to be few vegetarian options this year as well as there being lots of dishes containing pork.  I sampled so many delicious dishes and drank lots and lots of great wine.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s event to see what new vintages New York State wineries will produce.

Buon appetito!

Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website.  The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.

Brooklyn Uncorked 2012 by Edible Magazine

Wednesday evening, the hallowed halls of the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, an event space now known as Skylight One Hanson, rung with the clicking of glasses at Brooklyn Uncorked.  This annual wine and food event features vintages from New York State producers paired with dishes created by local chefs.  Having been to it last year, I knew that there would be much delicious wine to drink and many tasty dishes to sample.

This was the crowd at one point

My methodology was to experience the wines through the various small plates that the participating restaurants had prepared.  In speaking to several of the folks at the food tables, they told me that they worked with the vintners to create dishes that would work well with the wines that would be available for sipping at the event.

Les Trois Petits Cochons

Before embarking on my first tasting, I visited the booth at the front of the hall to have a few bites of the products by Les Trois Petits Cochons.  The smooth, earthy Mousse Truffée, luscious Smoked Salmon Terrine, and woodsy Venison Pâté were a perfect way to get my tastebuds geared up for all the other wonderful things to come.  These incredible, locally-made products shared a stand at the front of the hall with Orwasher’s Bakery hearty breads, Schoolhouse Kitchen‘s fragrant spreadable fruits.


Grilled Spring Vegetable Salad with Sopressata & Asparagus & Whipped Goat Cheese

One Woman Wines

2010 Grüner Veltliner

The schmear of tangy goat cheese spread worked well with the rough, crunchy salad and sweet carrots piled high on the plate while the crisp, acidic wine finished cleanly on the palate.  The Grüner Veltliner provided a nice pairing with the peppery flavor of the greens and the zing of the cheese.  This beverage would match well with lots of summer fare.

Palo Santo

Grilled Liver, Heart, Kidney of Rabbit with Aioli & Greens

Roanoke Vineyards Wines

2009 Marco Tulio (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend)

Grilled to order on the spot, this meaty skewer was not to everyone’s taste, not even to mine.  I did sample it (possibly the liver part?) along with the creamy aioli and crisp scallions and herbs.  The Marco Tulio was more than a match for the richness of the meat with its bold berry flavors.  At the same time, this wine was not overbearing at all, and I could see it as an ideal companion for many a grilled dish.

Northeast Kingdom

Poached Mussel with Ramp Aioli, Lemon Jam, Trout Roe, and Dill

Lieb Cellars

2011 Bridge Lane Rosé

I love the fact that Rosés are getting so much attention on this side of the Atlantic in recent years.  Lieb Cellars also has a special place in my heart because their light, crisp, very food-friendly Pinot Blanc is available on tap (yes, on tap) at one of the places in my neighborhood.  Their Bridge Lane Rosé with notes of ripe, luscious summertime berries (I think I caught some white raspberry flavor in there.) and a barely fizzy texture, complemented the briny mussel and the sharp, salty trout roe that topped the buttered toast round.

Five Points & Hundred Acres

Low-Country Pickled Shrimp with Cornbread-Fennel Biscotti & Yogurt

Dr Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars

2009 Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli

As with the pairing above, this one, too, had a lovely balance to it between the intense flavor components of the food and the wine’s ability to cut through it and harmonize all the different tastes going on in my mouth.  The floral notes and acidity of the wine were an ample partner for the plump, tangy shrimp nestled on a crunchy, licorice-perfumed base.

The Chocolate Room

Single-origin Flourless Chocolate Cake

Bloomer Creek Vineyard

2008 Pinot Noir

When I first encountered Bloomer Creek wines a couple of years ago, I got to know them via their lush, fruit-and-honey-scented Rieslings.  Their ruby-red Pinot Noir, full of the taste of cherries and other berries, proved to be ideal to cut through the dense, decadent flourless chocolate cake.

Gwynnett St.

Sweet Shrimp, Preserved Lemon, Daikon, and Dulse

Bedell Cellars

2011 Taste Rosé

This lightly fruity Rosé was a crisp, clean partner for the sweet, succulent shrimp dressed with sharp radish greens and salty dulse.  This beverage would be an ideal companion for those seafood platters that you might be dreaming up for casual summer get-togethers.

The Good Fork

Mung Bean & Kimchi Pancake with Gochujang-braised Berkshire Pork

Red Tail Ridge Winery

2009 Dry Riesling

Just looking at this photo of the above dish with a crunchy, fried mung bean and kimchi cake piled high with spicy, tender pulled pork and topped with thinly-sliced, salty pickles makes me wish I could come up with another plate of it right this minute.  This pairing was probably my favorite of the evening, with the crisp fall fruit taste of the Riesling melding beautifully with the velvety texture of the pork and the punch of heat from the kimchi and the gochujang.

Blaue Gans

Pork Belly with White Cabbage Salad and Spring Carrots

Wölffer Estate

Classic White Table Wine 2010

Silken slices of pork laid delicately over a bright, crunchy white cabbage slaw and decorated with at sliver of sweet carrot were a refined presentation of a classic Central European dish.  The wine was no less elegant with a nice acidity that paired well with the richness of the meat and the tang of the slaw and ended with a light, clean finish.

Trestle on Tenth

Smoked and Roasted Pork Shoulder with Red Onion Jam on Ciabatta

McCall Wines of Cutchogue

2011 Pinot Noir Marjorie’s Rosé

A hefty dollop of sweet red onion jam made a wonderful foil for the smoky, roasted pork in this slider.  I saw folks going back for a few of these nibbles.  For me, the wine pairing was more so-so.  I enjoyed the wine, but I just wasn’t completely won over by this match.


Lamb Belly Toast with Citrus Yogurt & Black Mint

Brooklyn Winery

2010 Zinfandel

The buttery, rich lamb belly with yogurt dressing fell apart gorgeously and just melted in my mouth.  A sip of the sweet, fruity zinfandel went with it perfectly, working with all the fattiness to enhance the flavor of the lamb.  I could have enjoyed several more helpings of this combination.

Gramercy Tavern

House-made Chicken “Mortadella” on Thyme Cracker with Caramelized Onions and Candied Pistachios

Channing Daughters Winery

2010 Blaufränkisch – Sylvanus Vineyard

Another pairing that I wasn’t completely charmed by was this one.  I enjoyed the big, hearty bold berry, cherry, and spice notes of the wine, but I wasn’t completely sure that it went with the mortadella-style chicken creation.  I felt that the food was somewhat overshadowed by the wine.

Tanoreen Restaurant

Mediterranean Baked Eggplant with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Spices

Paired with a 2009 Merlot from Merliance (no photo available)

Merliance is an alliance of Long Island Merlot producers who blend their wines together to produce a vintage that encompasses the characteristics of all of the vineyards of the region.  I picked up notes of purple plums and earthiness with a hint of spice and vanilla.  This was a terrific partner for the sun-kissed Southern European influence of the eggplant dish which had sweet, savory, and acidic flavors to contend with in every bite.

The Cleaver Co. & The Green Table

Savory Spring Bread Pudding

Shinn Estate Vineyards

2011 Rosé

This bread pudding captured the essence of what the word “savory” means: part salty, part buttery, part nutty-cheesy-dairy.  The herbs dotting the bread, the slivers of smoky bacon, and the brightness of the vegetables helped to balance out the richness of the other ingredients in the dish itself.  This summer-fruit-filled, light textured Rosé was the ideal partner for this plate.  I was tempted to go back for another go-around and end my tasting adventures at this table.

Osteria il Paiolo

Fave Beans with Pecorino

Osteria il Paiolo

Ricotta & Spinach Gnocchi with baby heirloom Tomato Sauce

After passing by several empty tables that had been completely wiped out of food for the evening, I came upon this one that had two Italian-inspired dishes for folks to try.  Meaty, freshly-peeled fava beans are a springtime staple.  The creamy-tangy pecorino is a great foil for the hearty beans.  My favorite of the two dishes was the pillowy-light gnocchi that just seemed to melt in my mouth with a pop of sweet-acidic tomatoes and an earthy backnote of truffle oil.  I could have consumed several platefuls of this dish, and I was so taken with all the incredible flavors working together that I forgot to get a glass of wine with which to eat it.


Another table that was empty of plates by the time I arrived at it was that for Colonie.  I was so disappointed as I’d been intrigued to see what this Brooklyn Heights locale was going to present.  Next year, I will need to plan a bit better so as not to miss out on their delicious fare.

Rose Water Restaurant

Meyer Lemon Crudot, Spring Onion, Spinach, Curry Cream

Ravines Wine Cellars

2011 Dry Riesling

The perfumed spice of the curry dressing combined with the dry, crisp finish of the Riesling made a delicious match for the ample slice of buttery tuna crudo in this dish.  This was the ideal cocktail hors d’oeuvre and one I’d like to try to replicate for one of my next parties.

PRINT Restaurant

Roast Strawberry Parfait

One Woman Wines

2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Although dubbed a parfait, by the time I made it to the table to PRINT for dessert, they were offering more of a Roast Strawberry Crumble instead.  After having eaten several heavier dishes throughout the evening, I actually welcomed this intense sweet-tart fruit with toffee-like crumbs just as it was.  The refreshing lightness of the wine was a terrific way to wrap up the evening’s tastings…or so I thought.

Brooklyn Oenology

2010 Riesling “Friend”

I realized that I hadn’t stopped by to chat with the folks I know at Brooklyn Oenology.  They still seemed very busy helping people sample their New York State made, New York State sourced wines.  I was offered a glass of their Riesling and then mused over what I could pair with this honey-scented wine.  I went back for the pork dish from The Good Fork.  At this point, there were no pancakes left so it was just plates filled with mounds of tender, shredded pork dressed with spicy sauce.  The Reisling’s luxurious fruit feel and slight sweetness was a perfect match for the bold meat.  That ended my eating adventures for this year’s episode of Brooklyn Uncorked on a very, full, completely satisfying note.

Buon appetito!

Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website.  The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.