During our recent Studiofeast experience Ed, one of the helpers at the event, tipped us off about the Bridge Vineyards Tasting Room, a fairly new place located at 20 Broadway, Williamsburg, down by the East River and the Williamsburg bridge. Bridge Vineyards specialises in wines from New York State, especially Long Island, and the tasting room offers a choice of "flights" or individual tastings, plus a small but scrumptious selection of savoury "food pairings". On Saturday we decided this would be a lovely way to start our evening so we strolled over there and took a seat at the bar in the small but stylish establishment.
We elected to try a flight, rather than a "tasting" (which at this place is actually a single glass of wine, of your own choice), opting for the Reserve Flight. From left to right we were served a Lenz 2002 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bridge 2001 Reserve Merlot and a Wiemer 2006 Dry Riesling. We're not generally big fans of white wine but we were particularly taken with the Riesling, which was bright and fresh with hints of citrus and apple yet which - in common with many of the better New World Rieslings - avoided excessive, cloying sweetness. Greg, the co-owner, was so pleased by this that he poured us a taste of another white-- a Lenz 2006 Gewurtztraminer which had a palate-pleasing pétillance and a fruity lightness that blew away dark memories of the often excessively heavy and sugary Gerwurtzes one tended to find in less enlightened times.
The reds were nice too; both having what proved to be a rather characteristic "stony" undertone to them. The Cabernet Sauvignon in particular had a somewhat unorthodox balance of flavour notes: along with some fairly typical touches of cherry and redcurrant I thought I detected the slightest hint of something almost medicinal... but in a good way!
To accompany the flight we ordered the crostini which were beautifully composed - both visually and in choice of ingredients. The tomato and pesto (left) was a welcome preview of warm weather (local hydroponically grown tomatoes make a difference in winter!) while the Gorgonzola with rosemary honey on cranberry pecan bread (middle) made our mouths sing. The roasted pepper, capers and pine nuts sitting on creamy Hudson Valley fromage blanc (right) was perhaps our favorite, pairing beautifully with all three wines.
Our second flight (best of New York reds) consisted of (from left to right again) a Milbrook 2006 Pinot Noir, a Broadfields 2002 Estate Merlot and a Sheldrake 2005 Estate Cabernet Franc. The Pinot Noir was a shock: it was a rosé but quite unlike any we'd ever tried. I seriously doubt we'd have identified it as such in a blind tasting. It had almost none of the traditional rosé sweetness and fruitiness; it was rather more full-bodied than a typical rosé and the taste was subtle, stony (again) and even somewhat earthy. A very interesting and unusual wine. The Cabernet Franc was a pleasant enough example of the breed with hints of herbs and grass over the baseline of understated fruit, but it was the Merlot which really blew us away. This was a big, full wine with plenty of dark fruit and just enough spice and earthiness to make a really well-balanced mouthful. We bought a bottle to go.
The cheeses were all local to New York State with the sheep and cow's milk camenbert coming from Chatham Sheepherders Company, and the Ouray (earthy and buttery and made of unpasteurized cows milk) and Eden (firm nutty washed-rind cows milk) both coming from Sprout Creek Farm.
As we prepared to leave the cook gave us a bowl of roasted rosemary potatoes with a citrus aioli for dipping. Suffice to say that we shall be ordering one of those next time we visit, which will be soon. The Bridge Urban Winery is a very welcome addition to our neighbourhood.