Posts Written OnJuly 2012

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace


A beer-loving friend recently asked me to recommend a book on beer and food pairing. I pointed her in the direction of Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver’s classic The Brewmaster’s Table, the definitive tome on beer and food pairing. Oliver is an Old World brewer with a conviction that beer belongs at the table and, just like wine, is as important a part of a meal as the food. I can think of no beer better suited to deliver this message than his farmhouse ale, Sorachi Ace. Sorachi offers the spice (lots of hot pepper and a twinge of thai…

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2009 “Arrowhead Red” Meritage


Many complain that there just aren’t enough New York reds under $20 that are worth of daily drinking.  If you’re one of these malcontents, this wine —  Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2009 “Arrowhead Red” Meritage ($16) is for you. A blend of 61% cabernet franc, 29% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot and 2% malbec, this $16 red simply over-delivers. In fact, it would over-deliver at several dollars more too. On the nose, ripe red cherry aromas are layered with notes of dusty chocolate, tobacco, bay leaf and hints of crumbled sage. A bit fruitier — red cherries and blackberries — on the medium-bodied…

Shinn Estate Vineyards 2011 “First Fruit” Sauvignon Blanc


You can learn a lot about a region’s vintages simply by tasting its unoaked whites wines — especially wines from producers that you trust and that aren’t big into in-winery manipulations or additions. Shinn Estate Vineyards 2011 “First Fruit” Sauvignon Blanc ($23) tells the story of a cool, wet and grey season most famously marked by the passing of Hurricane Irene right over Long Island. Herby and somewhat vegetal on the nose — think bell pepper — the nose also shows pear and pear skin, hints of grapefruit and hay aromas. Grapefruit flavors peek through a garden of herbs and green vegetation,…

Brooklyn Republic Vodka: Made in Brooklyn…or Missouri?


Now the last thing I’d consider myself is a skeptic… although with each passing day, I do find myself a little more susceptible to my BS meter going off.  Some days its a silent companionship, and other days the thing’s a steady buzz of deafening chirps and whistles. What I do consider myself is an advocate of New York spirits.  If we’re eating locally, then its only natural we follow by drinking locally.  The people I have met that are at the forefront of distilling in the Empire State are renegades.  The wave is a new one.  It wasn’t until…

Benmarl Winery 2010 Slate Hill Red


Benmarl Winery 2010 Slate Hill Red ($19), a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, petite verdot and malbec source primarily from Long Island, shows aromas of plums, cherries, dried herbs and raw oak on a slightly underripe nose. Soft and approachable, the palate is low on tannins but has just enough acidity to provide some structure. It’s plummy with dried herbs and leaves on the finish.  Simple and solid, but unremarkable. Producer: Benmarl Winery AVA: New York ABV: 13% Price: $19*   (2 out of 5, Average)

Bloomer Creek: The Cult Winery of the Finger Lakes Continues to Take Chances


You can only be a cult winery for so long. Eventually, the secret-handshake nature of your clients’ fandom becomes widespread, and then you’re just a regional mainstay. That was true at Heart & Hands, it was true at Damiani, and eventually it will be true at Bloomer Creek Vineyard. Not yet. There is still a sense of excitement among those who have visited Bloomer Creek in the past two years. There is a kind of illicit knowledge, an ahead-of-the-curve edge. The critical drumbeat is growing, but owners Kim Engle and Debra Birmingham have not seen an explosion in the tasting…

What We Drank: July 24, 2012


Evan Dawson: Leoville Las Cases 1988 Bordeaux One of the more difficult questions for wine lovers is when to open special bottles, and with whom. Perhaps too often we stratify our collection in a way that precludes certain people in our lives from ever having a chance to be at the table when the best bottles are open. Can’t waste a drop, after all! I think this is perfectly fine and understandable, to a point. But maybe you’re like me: You get tired of sharing stories of the great bottles you’ve opened and eventually you just want to share something beautiful with…

Sherwood House Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay


Sherwood House Vineyards has built its reputation largely on the back of its Old World-styled barrel fermented chardonnay. Personally I don’t like to compare any local wines to those from any other individual region, but many mention Burgundy when it comes to Sherwood’s chardonnay. The Sherwood House Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay ($30) isn’t quite as delicious as the stellar 2008, but it’s still a fine example. The nose shows scents of vanilla-roasted pears, buttery pastry crust and just a bit of raw oak. Medium bodied with balanced acidity, the palate tastes of caramelized pears and butterscotch with notes of fresh-cut pear and flowers on the finish. Producer: Sherwood…