How could it not be? You have 30 Long Island wineries, a half dozen breweries, a couple cheese shops, several restaurants and a lot of great, food-beer-and-wine-loving people in a great space in Brooklyn. Can it get much better?
Well, I guess they could have actually intermingled the restaurants and other food vendors among the wineries so you didn't have to go downstairs to get most of the food, but that's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.
Even though this was only the second edition of Brooklyn Uncorked, I'm comfortable saying that it is already the best Long Island tasting of the year. There isn’t a better way to taste over 100 Long Island wines in a matter of a few hours.
With so many great drinks and eats, it’d be silly of me to try highlight all of the ones that I enjoyed, but here are a few of the best and most interesting finds.
Ever heard of Bouke’ the North Fork’s newest producer? Neither had I until I spotted their unfamiliar labels from across the room. Don’t feel bad though, Bouke’s founder, Brooklyite Lisa Donneson used Brookyn Uncorked as her label’s coming out party, pouring a dry rose and white table blend. She expects to release her lone red, a blend, in the winter. Bouke’, pronounced the way bouquet is, aims to make affordable wines that can be opened any night of the week, and we dig that here at LENNDEVOURS. Donneson thinks that wine should be an “everyday pleasure for the senses.” Gilles Martin, formerly of Martha Clara Vineyards, makes the wines.
The rose ($15), a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, is satisfying and certainly seasonally appropriate. The white ($18), a mélange of chardonnay, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and Gewurztraminer is floral and citrusy. It seems best suited to ocean- or pool-side duty. Full reviews are coming once I taste them blind here at LENNDEVOURS HQ.
Another wine that impressed for less than $20 was Martha Clara Vineyards’ 2007 Pinot Grigio ($16). Fresh, clean and citrusy, it’s a darn near perfect summer sipper. Just don't think too hard about it (it's not that kind of wine) and don’t expect the same boring lemon-water flavors of cheap Italian pinot grigio. This one has more depth and mouthfeel. New winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez’s attention to detail—both in the vineyard and in the winery—is on display in this, his first release at Martha Clara. His 2007 Viognier isn’t released yet, but it’s a definite improvement on the last vintage as well.
One of the more interesting wines of the afternoon came from Roanoke Vineyards. Their 2005 Blend One won’t be released for a while, but it features 52% Malbec (the 04 bottling is heavy on cabernet franc). That Malbec dominates the nose with plum and anise, but by blending it with merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, some of the heavy, tar-like flavors sometimes associated with Malbec are smoothed out. Red production was a little low for Roanoke in 2004, but this is a wine worth keeping and eye out for.
Two more reds from 2005, a meritage-style blend and a merlot, were also impressive at the Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards table.
I also enjoyed, in no particular order: Shinn Estate Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Franc, Macari Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Paumanoke Vineyards 2007 Late Harvest Riesling, Long Island Meadery Pear Ceyser, Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2005 Reserve Merlot, Southampton Publick House Abbott 12, Sixpoint Craft Ales Righteous Rye, Sixpoint Craft Ales Nuthouse Brown, everything at the Channing Daughters table, Bedell Cellars First Crush Red.
If you didn't make it this year, you should really try to make it in 2009. It's a great, fun event.