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.
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.
Poached Mussel with Ramp Aioli, Lemon Jam, Trout Roe, and Dill
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.
Sweet Shrimp, Preserved Lemon, Daikon, and Dulse
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.
Pork Belly with White Cabbage Salad and Spring Carrots
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.