I've mentioned it a couple time already, but on May 16, Long Island wine invaded Brooklyn. “Brooklyn Uncorked,” organized by the Long Island Wine Council, Edible East End and Edible Brooklyn, offered Brooklynites (and Manhattanites really) the unrivaled—and long overdue—chance to taste Long Island wines without trudging out to the East End.
Thirty-plus wineries and a few other vendors descended on the Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcafe for a walk-around tasting event. I was lucky enough to attend the press and trade portion of the event. The crowd wasn’t huge, but it was steady and it seemed like people were really enjoying the wines in general. I didn’t stick around for the public portion, but I’ve heard that it got pretty crowded, but that attendees were even more interested in the wines than the ‘professionals’ which, in the end, is all that matters right. Long Island wineries need to reach the end consumer first and foremost.
Overall, it can only be considered a successful event and here are some impression I came away with—both good and bad.
There just wasn’t enough food available. The size of BAMcafe may be been a constraint here, but when people are tasting a couple hundred wines in just a couple of hours, having a little cheese, some just-shucked oysters and some wine sorbet (more on that in a moment) just isn’t enough. I’m not suggesting that this turn into the old Windows on Long Island event in Manhattan where the winery-to-restaurant ratio was nearly one to one, but a little more sustenance would have gone a long way—especially given the quality of the restaurants and food vendors in Brooklyn.
You’ve got to try Wine Cellar Sorbets. Until this event, I had only just heard about this Brooklyn-based dessert maker. They use real wine—riesling from the Hudson Valley, California Cabernet Sauvignon and Spanish Rioja, among others—to create what they call “The Adult Dessert for Sophisticatd Palates.” My favorites were the Riesling and the Sangria Rojo. Serve the rose, Riesling or pinot noir flavors at your next “local” dinner party. All three are made with New York state wine. For more information, to order online and to find a local retailer, visit www.winecellarsorbet.com
More wineries should have poured their best wines. I was surprised that a couple wineries didn’t participate at all, but was even more surprised—and disappointed—that some of the wineries in attendance didn’t pour many, if any, of their best bottles. I understand that wine costs money, but these types of events—which don’t happen more than once or twice a year—are our region’s best chance to create new fans. Don’t show up with just your second-label wines. Bring your best and really represent the region as best you can.
Long Island wine showed well. In no particular order, these wines stood out for me:
- The 2005 merlots from Bedell Cellars
- The 2006 Scuttlehole Chardonnay and 2006 Rosati di Merlot from Channing Daughters Winery
- Macari Vineyard’s 2006 Sauvignon Blanc
- Paumanok’s always-great 2006 Semi-Dry Riesling
- Scarola Vineyards’ 2004 Chardonnay
- Both the 2006 Sauvignon Blanc and 2004 Cabernet Franc from Jamesport Vineyards
- Waters Crest Winery’s 2004 Merlot Reserve
- Shinn Estate Vineyard’s Rose and First Fruit (sauvignon blanc-semillon blend) and cabernet franc
Hopefully Brooklyn Uncorked becomes an annual event...maybe in a bigger space (the event sold out easily) with more vittles next year. Long Island needs events like these to start dominating its own back yard.