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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Boston Wine Expo: Brooklyn Oenology Winery

I have enjoyed plenty of excellent wines from New York, from regions including Long Island, the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley. I've visited these regions, toured wineries and vineyards, and tasted many different wines, including White, Red, Rosé, Sparkling and Dessert. At each Boston Wine Expo, a number of New York producers sample their wines and this year, I checked out the wines of the Brooklyn Oenology Winery (BOE).

Based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, BOE is an urban winery founded in 2006 by winemaker, and former engineer, Alie Shaper.  Ali was at the Expo, pouring her wines, and she comes across as personable and passionate, dedicated to showing people the potential of New York grapes. As such, she only sources grapes from various regions in New York, such as the Finger Lakes and Long Island.  Her wines are produced at the Premium Wine group, a custom-crush facility in Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island.

Beside promoting her wines, Alie also helps to promote local artists and all of her wine labels have artwork from different artists. The labels are easy to save too, as they are double-layer, easy-to-peel stickers. At the BOE tasting room, they also display numerous pieces of local art. In addition, their tasting room sells a variety of other New York-made alcohols, from whiskey to cider.

Ali produces about ten wines, including White, Red, Rosé, and Sparkling. You'll find wines such as Chardonnay (from Long Island), Pinot Gris (from Finger Lakes), Merlot (from Long Island), and a Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine (from Finger Lakes). Prices range from about $16 to $45, though there are a few half-bottles which are less expensive. I tasted several of the BOE wines and two were real standouts to me.

As many know, I'm very picky about Cabernet Franc, generally disliking those with a green/vegetal taste. However, not all Cabernet Franc possesses that taste and I've throughly enjoyed a number of such wines, including some from New York. The 2014 BOE Cabernet Rosé ($18) fits the flavor profile that I prefer and I very much enjoyed its taste. The grapes for this wine came from the Finger Lakes region. The wine was fermented in stainless steel, with wild yeasts, and rested on the lees for a few weeks. With the light salmon color, it is crisp and dry, with delicious red fruit flavors, including cherry and strawberry, with a hint of minerality and a touch of herbs. It is enjoyable on its own though it is also very food friendly, and you should enjoy this Rosé year round.

Dutch settlers in Brooklyn originally referred to the neighborhood as Breukelen, which translates into English as "Broken Land." This was the inspiration for their wine, the 2013 BOE Broken Land ($30), an "Orange" wine. The wine is a blend of 52% Gewurtztraminer and 48% Pinot Gris from the Finger Lakes. After fermentation, the wine sits on the lees for about eleven days and then it is pressed and aged in neutral oak for about nine months. On the nose, the wine provides enticing exotic aromas with earthy elements. On the palate, the wine is elegant, with a subtle earthy aspect, a complex melange of flavors of citrus, dried fruit, mild herbs and a briny element. It is a more subtle wine though, not as intense as other orange wines, which would make it an excellent introduction for wine lovers to the wonders of orange wines. Highly recommended.

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