The Eternal Transit Lounge

The New York tour is coming to an end as I write and it is time to reflect as I sit in yet another transit lounge awaiting a flight that will get me baby steps closer to home. It has been an illuminating trip. New York struck me as a lumbering mammoth, pretty broken down and falling apart but at the same time awe inspiring and magnificent. The place survives and thrives on potholed roads, patched together highways and an incredible reliance on the internal combustion engine.The New York bus terminal at peak hour is quite a sight to behold. Hundreds of buses slowing snaking there way out of tunnels and off bridges to wind up in the log jam that climbs higher and higher up the entry ramp. The place covered in soot and grime. Impatience reigns above the greed and pace of all New York. The cab drivers lean on their horns trying to move along there comrades double and triple parked in gridlocked traffic while the rich sit above in their lavish architectural palaces.

 My first taste of New York was similar to millions of travellers. The subway from JFK airport cuts through the outlying suburbs of Brooklyn. Past the weatherboard suburbs where millions have been forced to exist as the can’t afford the glory of the brick suburbs closer to Manhattan. From what was probably an undesirable area has risen a pleasant suburban existence where I finally disembarked around Prospect park which right in the middle of Brooklyn. Our distributor, Angels’ Share wines are located in a sleepy little site that serves well as it is right next to the Brooklyn Battery tunnel and close to Brooklyn bridge that both serve lower Manhattan. After I met the staff I was taken down to Red Hook Winery which is on the waterfront with great views of the Statue of Liberty.
The view from Red Hook wharf
 Red Hook was created by Mark Snyder and uses the talents of two Napa valley winemakers Abe Schoener and Robert Foley. They work with as many as 15 different New York vineyards, making up to 26 wines per vintage in downtown Brooklyn. The winemakers split each lot of grapes in half to experiment and discover what the New York vineyards can deliver. I was lucky enough to try several barrels of wines made by the two winemakers. The grapes come from Long Island vineyards which were first planted in 1973. The main varietals being merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. I tried some fantastic chardonnay firstly from Abe that was a funky, wild yest full MLF style that was really impressive. Robert Foley is a more conventional winemaker who uses cultured yeast and reductive winemaking to make more fruit forward linear styles. Both were really impressive wines that will age beautifully. Next I tried the petite verdot from the 2010 harvest. It was a ripe harvest which shows through with rich fruits  and lovely grainy tannins. Both Abe and Robert had done great work with this fruit again conflicting in styles but both making really good wines. Many thanks to all the staff down at Red Hook for showing me their unique winery.
Darren giving me a tasting at Red Hook winery