Last night, Caitlin, Kelleigh, and I headed out to BAM for Edible Brooklyn‘s Brooklyn Uncorked, 2009, a stupendous annual affair featuring 31 wineries from Long Island, alongside a host of Brooklyn restaurants offering delectable snacks to ensure that our bags were full by the time we tied one on. The folks who assemble the New York Wine Expo have a lot to learn from this event. For $40 (nearly half the NY Wine Expo price) we met a handful of winemakers, sampled a wide range of Long Island wines from Riedel glasses, and were too full for dinner by the time we left. Go Brooklyn!
As far as we were concerned, Croteaux Vineyards (pictured at the top) and Osprey’s Dominion stole the show, but we also sipped a few guest stars from the likes of Clovis Point, Castello di Borghese, Jamesport, and Brooklyn Oenology.
Equipped with an empty glass, camera and notebook, and a map of North and South Forks, I made my rounds sampling first whites and rosés, before circling through again to taste the reds. With four hours to play with, we had not a minute to spare, and so I was selective with what I chose, dismissing most barrel fermented chardonnays and pure red merlots, because generally it’s what I dislike.
Croteaux Vineyards, located in Southold, makes only rosés, from three different Merlot clones–and so quickly became dear to our thirsty hearts. Named after their clones, the first bottle was 2007 Croteaux Merlot 181 Rosé. Pale salmon in color, the 181 is all stone fruit–peach and apricot, and somewhat simple; my least favorite of the bunch. Merlot 314 Rosé is earthy, refreshing, and full of citrus–think pink grapefruit. The most interesting of the three is the Merlot 3 Rosé. 100% barrel fermented it also underwent malolactic fermentation, a process that converts harsh malic acid into softer lactic acids. With no fruit on the nose, the 3 is quite earthy. Red fruit appears on the palate–strawberry and raspberry–I’d drink it here, there, and even with green eggs and (soy) ham.
Clovis Point makes a steel fermented 2006 Chardonnay–fresh and crisp with grapefruit and minerality.
As the first vineyard in Long Island, Castello di Borghese has been producing grapes for 35 years. Grassy like a Sauvignon Blanc, their stainless steel fermented Chardonnay, 2007 is steely and crisp with citrus and a touch of green apple on the finish.
Jamesport makes an interesting Pinot Noir, 2006. Pale ruby with violet on the nose and cranberry, the Jamesport Pinot is earthy and tannic with a mouthful of acidity, and quite integrated…a pleasant surprise.
Nearing the end of our journey, we spent some time with the folks at Osprey’s Dominion (above) sampling their Meritage wines. Coined in 1981, Meritage refers to American wines made from a blend of Bordeaux varietals, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2000 Meritage (60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon) shows over-ripe, bruised fruit–blackberry and plum. Neither jammy nor cloying, it’s a pleasant, full-bodied wine with a lingering finish.
The Meritage 2002 (73% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc) is remarkably different–earthy and herbaceous with plum and integrated tannins. Also quite nice.
And finally, Meritage 2006 (65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot). Slightly floral (from the addition of Petit Verdot), this vintage also showed blackberry and plum, with the addition of black pepper spice. Yum!
Brooklyn Oenology wowed us with their 2006 Motley Cru. Exhibiting super-cool labels designed by Brooklyn artists, Brooklyn Oenology is headquartered in Brooklyn, where it sells and markets wines that are made in Long Island on the North Fork. The Motley Cru contains 62% Syrah, blended with Malbac, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. At the end of the night, I detected cranberry, young blackberry, hearty tannins, and a spicy finish–notes that I’d like to revisit by tasting Cru once again.