I never imagined there could be such a place as a winery hidden in the historical Brooklyn. I always thought of wineries being open places in rural environments far away, at least from urban civilizations. However, Mark, founder of Red Hook Winery chose this spot to bring into life the concept of wine- making.
The class of Wines of the New World accompanied by professor Goodlad was very fortunate to witness the various stages of wine from juice to final product as well as tasting 17 different wines, whites and reds with the purpose of understanding the difference between grape varietals, vintages, and method of fermentation.
Personally, I was delighted to learn about the advances in technology in terms of machineries used to press grapes as well as the introduction to stainless- steel barrels vs. wooden barrels; Mark was capable of explaining us the impact that oxygen and reduction have when tasting our wines. Also, about the different process that takes place when making white, red and rose wine; especially learning about “orange wine”, which is a skin fermented wine. One example of this mysterious type of beverage was the AS SKL1 2009, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; acidic and cheesy on the palate. Something never tasted before . Mark, was very knowledgable of his business and the whole theory of wine- making which made the whole trip successfully informative.
I was so impressed with the room of barrels. Each barrel keeping a different type of wine, at different stage of fermentation and being a different vintage. For instance, I was able to taste a Merlot from 2010, 2011, 2012 and one still fermenting, the 2013 Merlot. I was surprised at how richer, spicer or more fruit oriented was one from the other. The 2013 one was juice in its totality. To the palate of some of my classmates, this one mentioned would be the “yummier” of the Merlots as it was so sweet, only juice; the content of alcohol was at its minimum as it was still fermenting.
Overall, I was very content with the visit, not only as a wine drinker and lover but also because it is a huge difference to being taught about wine in a classroom and experience the whole process firsthand.
Tasting numerous merlots at various stages of aging and fermentation was truly a unique experience. This tasting , especially tasted straight from the barrel, provided all of us with a “hands on” taste experience that will allow us to truly remember the complexity of the merlot grape.