Friday, July 18, 2008

IMBIBE NEW YORK has moved again

The final move has been made 
please go to my permanent home:


Friday, May 30, 2008


Dear Readers,

IMBIBE NEW YORK currently has a new location.
Please visit me at

and suffer patience while I work on forwarding all
to a new website:

coming soon to you!



Monday, May 19, 2008

tini, Red Hook Brooklyn

We hadn't been to tini since planning our wedding at the Waterfront Museum last year (when I drank a glass of Ransom Willamette Valley Riesling and LOVED it) and since then I've been looking forward to my return.  A cozy wine bar at 414 Van Brunt Street, it's the perfect place to lunch and imbibe on a spring afternoon.       
With 15 white wines offered by the glass, 13 reds, and 5 roses, a day could quickly turn night, especially if you manage to nab a spot on the plush white couch.

 tini describes the spot just fine; the space seats maybe 20, if you include the four-stool bar.  And though the food deserves some deliberation, I'm going to skip that because we're here (or at least I'm here) to think about wine.
Since the pours were twice or thrice what I'd tip into my glass at home (nice!), I drank only (only!) two before revisiting the Waterfront Park and shopping at Fairway.

Wanting to try something new, I went for wines I knew nothing about, and the waitress was kind enough to offer a taste, for which there wasn't much need because I ordered them both anyway. 

Soellner, "Danubio" Gruner Veltliner, 2006

From the Austrian village of Gosling on the Danube, this pale straw colored wine developed a pleasant bouquet as it warmed (served much too cold, any scents or flavors were at first difficult to detect).  Typically, the varietal Gruner Veltliner is citrous (grapefruit), perhaps full of tropical fruits and lentils, and spice.  I sensed pear on the bouquet and palate, and spice (I wasn't sure which, but later read it's often white pepper, which in retrospect seems right).  I'd be curious to revisit this wine with a new set of tasting notes, maybe I'd then get it right.  Very yummy for the price.

Domaine des Cassagnoles, "Cuvee Gros Manseng" 2005

Made from 100% Gros Manseng grapes, this golden colored 
wine, thicker and fleshier than the GV, threw me for a loop.  
Sniffing repeatedly like a bad habit, I kept searching--what was it? Floral? Apple? A bit of spice? A little oaky? But couldn't seem to  get it right. Perhaps too subtle to detect, still, it 
wasn't a bad glass of wine.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Riesling & Co. Tasting 2008

I'm a huge fan of rieslings, but only the dry stuff, so I was delighted to discover upon disembarking downtown that the Riesling & Co.'s world tour was plenty stocked with mouth-puckering, steely, bone-dry wines.

With 39 tables to visit in three hours, this was not an event for the meek or weak.  With our booklets in hand (being a German affair, each table was numbered and charted, with a listing of every producer and wine), at times, my friend Jenn and I were jostled around tables, where I often had to aggressively elbow my way in.  
The crowd was an interesting mix of connoisseurs and those looking for a cheap drunk, with perhaps only rationale differentiating between the two.  (To be on the safe side, we hovered in the middle of the mix, with the natural ability to slip easily toward the downward side.)

Our first mistake was to skip the buffet, figuring we'd sip a bit before breaking to refuel.  Seeing people walking around with plates of sushi and sashimi, did nothing to detract me from my focus--what a fool.  By the time we broke, the food was gone, and we were left to pick like birds from baskets of crusty stale bread.  Thank god for riesling's lower alcohol content; we made it through the night sans tragicomic events.

Now for the wines.
Green apple, apricot, limestone, lychee, peach and pear, petrol, honey, and lime--these were the flavors that dominated the night.  And though I avoided most things semi-sweet and beyond, my taste buds were dizzy by the second hour, tired from trying to distinguish the differences found in each wine.
A few favorites worth noting:
  • 2004 Riesling Late Harvest, produced by T & T Premium Brands Marketing, dry, Summa cum laude--This wine had a whole lotta petrol going on, which I liked because I found it so unique, followed by a bit of soft peach.
  • 2006 Riesling Erstes Gewachs, produced by Domdechant Werner'sches Weingut, Kirchenstuck Hochheim--Clean and fruity, this wine became dry, then finished with a bite of apricot/lime.
  • 2006 Riesling Erstes Gewachs, produced by Weingut J. Koegler KG, halbtrocken, Eltviller Sonnenberg--Champagne taste, beer budget, naturally I loved this wine because it's more than I can afford.  A complex wine with evolving flavors, it had a petrol bouquet that lingered in the mouth finishing with a bit of nutmeg at the end.
  • 2007 Riesling Spatlese, produced by Weingut Schatzel, troken, General von Zastrow--Fruity and floral, a bit of pear, with a dry finish--just the way I like my rieslings, yum!
  • 2007 Scheurebe Spatlese, produced by Weingut Lingenfelder, dry, Burgweg--Beginning with peach and apricot, followed by a zesty bite, with a mineral finish--a delicious wine.

Miskeit Wines Ltd. produced a few nice light whites (even if the representative referred to my aggressively patterned outfit as "pajamas"):
  • 2007 Ebling, trochen, Schloss Thorn, Mosel--Light (like Chablis) a bit salty, nice!
  • 2007 Muller-Thurgau, halbtrocken, "BELLE AMIE", Baden-Badener Winzergenossenschaft, Baden--A thin wine, with a touch of peach followed by lime/apricot zest.

A number of the wines had an interesting mid-sip zip/zest, with a touch of carbonation.  I'll have to look into that.
The evening also emphasized the importance of knowing how to read a label.  (Which I realized a few weeks ago, that when it comes to Spanish wines, I clearly DO NOT--but that's another story.) 


A few helpful terms (as defined by a few reps):

Kabinett-grapes harvested early, producing a dry wine
Spatlese-a late harvest and therefore medium to medium-sweet in flavor
Auslese--an even later harvest and SWEET

Two tastings back-to-back, a bit of an endurance feat.  Signing off until next week.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brooklyn Uncorked!

Last night's Brooklyn Uncorked at BAM Cafe was every wino's delight.  Not since honeymooning in Northern California have I had the opportunity to imbibe such a sweet array of wines.  

The event, sponsored by Uncork New York! played host to thirty wineries from Long Island, a majority located along routes 25 and 48, on the North Fork.  And let me say, it was a bit of a life changing event.  Who knew one could drink locally and jump a train east to spend days touring over 50 wineries? (Note to self: do not quit day job yet.)

Grown on the Island since the seventeenth century, wine grapes took root on the North Fork over 30 years ago, when the Hargraves successfully planted vinifera vines (European varieties) on their potato farm on Cutchogue (Wines of the World p. 506).  (Sorry, after badgering my students to credit their sources, I must give credit where it's right.) Currently, grapes outgrow potatoes as Long Island's most substantial crop (so much for New York ever becoming the Vodka State).

Vineyards on the Island produce approximately 38 different varieties of grapes, ranging from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to Riesling and Viognier for the whites; and such red varietals as Cabernet Sauvingnon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, a few of which came together to spawn some lovely roses.

Every spring brings a fresh crop of roses--the bottled more preferable to buds with thorns--and last night's tasting did not fail to represent.  Waters Crest Winery poured a lovely pale pink rose with a fruity bouquet and bone dry finish, as did Wolffer Estate, while Osprey's Dominion produced a heartier rose, ruby-pink in color, with red berries that danced around my nose.  Since Channing Daughters Winery was visited at the end of the evening, I only remember that I liked it...

There were some interesting whites, including Peconic Bay Winery's 2005 Riesling, which didn't scream of flowers and fruit, but rather petrol.  I've read about wines with bouquets of gasoline, but had never experienced the sense, so this certainly added to my feelings of accomplishment.  The vendor claimed that German wine makers strive for, but rarely achieve this scent, something I hope to learn more about at tonight's German Riesling tasting at the Tribeca Rooftop (liver--stay tuned...).

Another white that caught my attention was Channing Daughters Winery's "Envelope" (this one I thought enough to note), which is a skin-fermented wine that was floral and somewhat reminiscent of white or green tea.  Bedell also served an interesting white--"First Crush"-fermented in stainless steel, 82% chardonnay 18% viognier.  Again, I can only write that I liked it.

And now for the reds.  
It was fun to sample a couple of meritage wines (including one from Osprey's Dominion and Pindar's "Mythology"), after reading about these blends in last month's Saveur, but I regretfully write that these tastings too took place at the end of the night, and so I have nothing to report, other than that they were good.  (So...this is why I saw the owner of Brooklyn's Sip, spitting, rather than swallowing every mouthful whole?!)

However, I can write that the Cabernet Francs produced by Waters Crest Winery and Sherwood House Vineyards were both divine--full of dark cherries and spice, the former flavored a bit of tobacco, while both finished smooth on the palate.  Martha Clara Vineyards poured a 2005 "Five-O" red, which while not as sophisticated as the other two, was heavy on the 'Cigar Box' stank, which I always like.

What a splendid event!  I'm on the look out for more.  Next year, which will be their third affair, I promise to better organize the troops, perhaps give my husband (who is NOT a wino) a breather, by bringing along a handful of boozer friends.  (You know who you are!)