Rites of Spring: Uncorked in Brooklyn

IMG_0281There are many things that indicate the true arrival of spring in New York… street fairs … outdoor seating at restaurants and in street plazas  . . . and Brooklyn Uncorked.

Brooklyn Uncorked, you say? Never heard of it? For New York (predominantly Long Island with a smattering of upstate) wine lovers . . . and or for those curious about or unfamiliar with them . . . it is an annual ritual. A grand tasting now held at Skylight One Hanson (the former Williamsburg Savings Bank building) featuring dozens of local wineries paired with an array of local foods. Sponsored by Edible Brooklyn , the event used to be held at BAM, but as it outgrew it the venue moved to the nearby Skylight One Hanson.  For me, I started attending this spring ritual soon after the inaugural one several years ago at its old home and traveled with it to its new setting.

There, amid the spectacular vaulted ceilings and once-upon-a-time tellers windows, stood row after row of winemakers sampling wines interspersed with food vendors offering tastes of some of the finest cuisine in the metro area. What better way to hobnob with those responsible for creating the offerings under one roof from places as diverse as Gramercy Tavern and Murray’s Cheese to 1 Knickerbocker and The Good Fork while sampling wines from Ravines, Lenz, Wölffer, Brooklyn Oneology, SUHRU, Red Tail Ridge, Whitecliff or Brotherhood, among many others. Where else to find such winemakers as Anthony Napa (Anthony Napa Wines / Raphael), Kareem Massoud (Paumanock), Kelly Urbanik Koch (Macari), David Page (Shinn), and Regan Meador (Southold Farm + Cellar) standing side-by-side comparing notes and discussing their latest vintages or roaming the room themselves sampling.

But wait… You ask, how to navigate such an array and taste all those wines, and still be able to walk out the door? No magic trick here. The key is, it’s a tasting, not a guzzling. Pick a grape…whether merlot, chardonnay, Riesling…or a wine type (red, white or rosé)…and try to follow it around the room. Try it and dump. (An easier plan than actual roadmap…especially when I stopped to speak with the winemakers or winery representatives, who were only too happy to suggest their white merlot as something new to try, or the unreleased tank sample of the new Riesling, or…).

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So…when the doors open, the question becomes, Where to start. The potential wine and food pairings are endless. Do you start with a wine (or winery) that you know, or try something new. Go left, right, or up the middle? Honestly, no difference. Whichever way you start, the fun is sure to follow. After grabbing a glass on the way in, I went left and visited Sherwood House and One Woman. Then went up the side to Wölffer, Anthony Nappa, Croteaux, Lenz, Martha Clara, Matttabella… and on down the line.

Unfortunately, before you know, the evening comes to an end. Of the many highlights I encountered, some stood above, such as Macari’s 2010 Malbec, BOE’s 2013 Pinot Gris, Lameroux Landing’s Cabernet Franc, or Mattabella’s Famiglia. Lieb showcased their Bridge Lane White Blend box wine. Corks popped. Twist-tops twisted. All made for a great evening of wine tasting guaranteed to please any palette and send everyone home ready for the summer, and primed to head east to Long Island (or north to the Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes) to visit the wineries in person.

Until the next uncorked . . . .

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