Less than an hour from Manhattan, the Brotherhood Winery, in Washingtonville, NY , is "America's oldest winery" having been founded by John Jaques, with a first commercial vintage 1839.
In 1987, new owners purchased the winery and Cesar Baeza, an internationally prominent winemaker and viticulturist, took over as winemaker. His wines were first produced in the fall of 1987.
Nena and I visited a year or so ago and tasted through their offerings. Overall, we found the wines to be inconsistent, but always drinkable and sometimes quite impressive.
I'll be reviewing more of their wines in the near future, but we opened his 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon ($12) last night to drink with dinner.
Eyes: Uniform, medium crimson with slight violet hue
Nose: Fruity with blackberry dominating and vegetal, green pepper aromas in the background and a little oak
Tongue: Medium-to-full bodied and simple with berries and bell pepper with a little black pepper and oak character. Tastes a bit "green" to me and has medium tannins that are a little raw.
Food: We drank this wine with grilled NY sirloin Nena picked up at the local butcher and grilled zucchini from our garden. This was definitely much better with the steak, the tannins were smoothed out and the "green" flavors weren't as obvious. I did like the subtel black pepper flavors with the charred meat and vegetables. As you can see from our grades below, Nena enjoyed it much more than I did. And, for $12, it's hard to complain too much.
Lenn's Grade: C+/B-
Nena's Grade: A-