Red Hook Winery Review
Address: Pier 41 325A, 175 – 204 Van Dyke Street Brooklyn,New York 11231.
Phone Number: 347-689-2432
Tasting Hours: 12:00-6:00
Region: New York
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Review Date: 12/30/2016
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Red Hook Winery was founded in 2008 by Mark Snyder to focus on New York States best vineyards, particularly those located in the North Fork of Long Island and the Finger Lakes regions. Winemakers include Abe Schoener, Christopher Nicolson, and Robert Foley, whose name you may recognize from his Napa Valley fame.
As my companion and I approached the address of Red Hook Winery, which is located in a popular, growing warehouse district of Brooklyn, we had to pay close attention to the signage so as to not get lost. There were at least three signs pointing us in the right direction. When we arrived, I was immediately captivated by the space inside, adorned primarily with barrels or the wood and metal components of barrels. I was in a working, urban winery and the décor reflected that.
My friend and I were seated at a table and given a tasting menu, $15 for four tastes, two-ounce pours each. Our host told us that we could also select wines that were not part of the standard menu. We had wanted to taste some wines from the Finger Lakes, but the winery was unable to secure grapes due to the lower yields of recent, harsh winters.
We decided to taste eight different wines and share our selections so that we could sample a wider range of wines. We chose four whites and four reds and our host brought us the first two whites. However, upon tasting them, we discovered that they were not made in our style preference, so we decided to choose six more reds instead, tasted in the following order: the 2012 League of the Storm (North Fork of Long Island, blend of merlot and cabernet franc, $45), 2014 Cabernet Franc (Sannino Vineyard , $32), 2010 Merlot Reserve (Jamesport Vineyard , $45), 2010 Elegy (Jamesport Vineyard, merlot and petit verdot blend, $60), 2010 Grallator Reserve Red (Jamesport Vineyard, blend of cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, $60), and 2010 Jamesport Vineyard Petit Verdot ($75). The host seemed surprised when I inquired if they had a 100% petit verdot, as I guess that is not a common request. However, since the winery where I work makes one, I am always seeking it out.
The host left us alone to taste all six wines, so we were able to taste, revisit, and talk about them. We each found our favorites. My companion chose the first three: the cabernet franc, the merlot, and the blend of the two. However, I gravitated toward the latter three, the two petit verdot blends and the 100% petit verdot, especially when I realized all were from the same producer (Robert Foley), vineyard source (Jamesport Vineyard, North Fork of Long Island), and vintage year (2010). That is the kind of wine geek I am. It was fun to taste them together and see how the petit verdot showed as a blending and stand-alone grape. Of course, I loved the petit verdot, with its dark characteristics and firm tannins. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to make my own bottle of wine in a winemakers blending session and I wanted to make 100% petit verdot, but I was not allowed to do so, so hesitantly I added other reds, but in very small quantities, so as to not mask the petit verdot that I loved so much. The cabernet sauvignon-petit verdot blend was more of a traditional red blend. However, the 2010 Elegy grabbed my palate and my attention. I do not recall ever having a merlot-petit verdot blend. It was oddly delicious simultaneously soft with red fruit and bold with black fruit without a bridging grape to connect the two ends of the spectrum.
My friend and I spent so much time at Red Hook that we closed down the place. Among the hustle and bustle that is Brooklyn, we paused, sipped, chatted, and leisurely lingered over some of the best red wines that the North Fork of Long Island has to offer.