So much wine, so little time. That’s a bit what it felt like walking in to the Brooklyn Academy of Music last night for the Brooklyn Uncorked festival put together by Edible Magazine (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and East End). With 26 tables of wines and 14 food options (according to the website), this was a cornucopia of eating and drinking options showcasing the variety of Long Island wines as well as displaying culinary talents from Brooklyn and Manhattan. My friend who went with me and I did our best to try to sample something from everyone, with apologies to those whom we missed.
It was good to see some wineries I’ve mentioned in previous posts at this event, too. This definitely brought together newer vintners with older ones and showcased a variety of methodologies, philosophies, and grapes. We stopped by the table where Brooklyn Oenology was featuring some of its collection to say hello to Josh, one of their staff, who was telling folks about how their wines are made from New York State grapes and the labels are designed by local, Brooklyn artists. I think that their 2009 Social Club White is still one of my top picks for a Summer 2011 wine. Their 2008 Voinier was the favorite pick of the label by the Austrian gentleman who was standing next to me.
I’d had wines from Bedell Cellars at another of Edible’s events earlier this year, so I was curious to see what other varieties they’d brought with them last night. While I had enjoyed the wines I’d tried of theirs in the past, the 2010 Gewürztraminer did not hit the right notes with my palate. I found it overly floral and a bit cloying, like a way-to-strong perfume. On the other hand, another taste of Bouké‘s 2009 Perlant reconfirmed for me that this lightly-fizzy, crisp, clean fruit tasting wine is something that I need to add to my own collection.
In between sips, we also checked out a few of the food stations to see what creations the chefs had made to pair with the drinks. From Katchkie Farm/GreatPerformances, this Beet-Cured Salmon with Shaved Radish, Fennel Salad and Salmon Roe Champagne Sabayon was a rich bite for the eye as well as for the tongue. It had great salty, crunchy, rich notes that blended with several of the wines that we tasted, like some of the more acidic whites.
Gramercy Tavern, a favorite spot of one of my former co-workers, had what I would consider the most appropriate food festival bite of the evening. Aside from just being a colorful combination, the Fresh Goat’s Milk Cheese with Shaved Asparagus dotted with red pepper was the perfect two-bite crunchy, smooth, delicate, woodsy nosh to serve while everyone was trying to maneuver through the tables of wine. I’m sure that most, if not all of the ingredients were sourced from the Greenmarket, which means that even I might be able to replicate it.
Black Cod and Asparagus wrapped in Bacon dipped in Champagne Tempura and dressed with Jalapeno Aoli, these fried-to-order bites from Palo Santo were one of the more ambitions options of the evening. I just wished they’d succeeded a bit more. The exterior with the light crunchy crust and the creamy spice of the aoli was really tasty. The interior didn’t fare so well, and I found it overly chewy and gummy. That’s too bad, as I had had other good things from them at another event.
Still, there was more wine to try on the main level before heading upstairs where even more great things awaited. Baiting Hollow had a few that I really enjoyed. Their 2008 White Satin blend delivered high acidity and great fruit flavors. It would be a good match with summer grilled seafood. Their 2006 Cabernet France reminded me of what I’ve been missing in a good, solid table red wine. Not too spicy, but just bold enough, I could definitely feel the oak and the round fruit flavors.
Raphael had an interesting 2010 Chardeaux (66% Chardonnay/44% Sauvignon Blanc) that delivered crispness and fruitiness with a nice balance of minerality and acidity. The Old Field winery had a Commodore Perry 2002 Reserve Merlot that had a lovely soft fruit finish to it. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of every bottle will be going to the relief funds for Japan in honor of their ancestor who opened up that country to the Western World.
After some more snacks, including trying a delicious a new Spelt Bread from Orwasher’s, some samples from Rick’s Picks, and cheese and sausage from Organic Valley, it was time to head upstairs to see what other wonderful delights awaited us. By the time we got there, I decided I was a little bit more interested in food than in wine, so I headed off to see what I could find on that front. There were some really great options to try:
The Venison Paté with Cranberries and Pistachios from Les Trois Petits Cochons was really amazing, meaty (not gamey) and hearty, a slab of this, on Orwasher’s bread, some cornichons, and a slather of the mustard they have made especially for them in France, and lunchtime would reach a whole new level of incredible. Their silken, earthy Truffle Mousse and smooth, vegetal Spinach Terrine with Roquefort Cheese made their table a destination stop all evening long.
The Cleaver Co‘s Wild Herb Paté was popular, as was their Rhubarb Brown Butter Cakes, which were all finished by the time I got to their table.
On the sweeter side of life, these little Shortcakes with Strawberries and Cream from Grow NYC/Greenmarket were completely wonderful. I really hope that this is a sign of super-sweet-tart, fragrant berries to come this season.
At a certain point in the evening, my friend and I became separated in the crowd. Thank goodness for text messaging, as that’s what reconnected us so that we could team up and try some more wines.
To take a break from the wines, there were also a few other beverage options for the evening to cleanse one’s palate:
GuS (Grown Up Soda) brought along several of their refreshing flavors. My new favorite of theirs is Grape Black Currant. The currants aren’t too overwhelming and the grape adds just the right bit of sweetness. SerendipiTea brought along several flavors hot and cold to sooth everyone’s tastebuds. For those wanting to end the evening with a jolt, Dallis Bros. Coffee delivered some much needed caffeine.
This was a really terrific event as far as being able to try out so many different offerings from New York State wineries. It was easy to see the care and attention each one of the winemakers puts into his or her craft and the chemistry that goes into getting something into the bottle for us to enjoy. This was a perfect opportunity to interact with some old favorites and to meet some new folks as well. Pairing these wines with dishes from local restaurants just makes me appreciate even more the work that goes on in the local food system to bring us these amazing things to eat and drink.