Saturday evening I attended the Judgement of Brooklyn social event in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The the theme of the event was to replicate the famous Judgement of Paris wine tasting event that took place in 1976 in Paris in which wines from the Napa Valley outscored their French counterparts in a blind tasting. That event put Napa Valley in particular and American wines in general on the international map. Saturdays event featured the winners of blind tastings that were held between American wines (and beer) and their French counterparts based on grape varietals.
The event was held at Skylight One Hanson building. The event space is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank, once the tallest building in the borough. I grew up not too far from there and when I was a kid I would tell time by the clock which towered over the neighborhood. The building itself is a spectacular event space with vaulted ceilings and beautiful mosaics. It was built “to be regarded as a cathedral dedicated to the furtherance of thrift and prosperity”. That’s how they did things back in the day.
The wines (and beer) were paired off between an American bottle and a French one which made for a fun tasting. It was a consumer event with a nice crowd, some cool jazz and plenty of juice to keep things flowing.
Some of what I sampled:
2011 Schramsburg Blanc du Noir Serge / Mathieu Cuvée Prestige NV
I picked the French, it was crisp with some RS and more rounded than the Schramsburg which was grapey.
2012 Domaine Felix St. Bris Sauvignon Blanc (Burgundy) / 2012 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma).
I picked American wine, the St. bris was grassy and floral on the nose with moderate, citrus fruit on the firm finish while the Matanzas Creek had a big grassy nose with canned peaches with mushrooms on the moderate fruit with good balance and a lingering finish.
2011 Domaine de La Chezate Cuvée Prestige Sancerre (Loire) / 2012 Peirson Meyer Sauvignon Blanc “Ryan’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley).
I picked the American wine, the Chezate had a toasty and oily nose with full, rich and ripe fruit of flowers with lime notes on the finish while the Meyer had a nose of cotton candy and cinnamon with moderate fruit with notes of lemon custard with some toast notes on the finish.
2011 Kuentz-Bas Riesling (Alsace) / 2011 Dunham Cellars Riesling “Lewis Vineyard” (Walla-Walla).
I picked the American wine. The Kuentz had yeasty notes on the nose while the Dunham had the classic Riesling nose of petroleum with some rs balancing the wine out, very drinkable.
2012 Red Tail Ridge Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Finger Lakes) / 2011 Domaine Cornin Macon-Chaintré (Burgundy).
I picked France on this one. The Red Tail had mango and oak on the nose with the vanilla and cinnamon from the oak coming through on the fruit while the Cornin had a floral nose with good grip, nicely balanced with moderate to long finish.
2009 Chateau LaRoche Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon (Burgundy) / 2012 Keenan Chardonnay (Napa Valley).
A tie, both ripe Chardonnay, the Chablis had a pretty nose of ripe kiwi with unusually ripe fruit while the Keenan had a ton of oak notes on the nose and toasted oak on the tight finish.
2011 Simon Bize Savigny Les Beaune “Les Bourgeots” (Burgundy) / 2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Isabelle” (California).
A tie, both nice Pinot. The Savigny had notes of earth and dark cherry on the nose with crushed fruit flavors and a nice grip while the Climat had more new world notes of cola and black cherry on the nose and was chunky but balanced with some earth notes on the fruit.
2011 Rotie Cellars”Southern Blend” (Walla-Walla) / 2011 Domaine Du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 1er Cru Reserve (Rhone).
The Rhone was the best red of the night, a big nose of violets and damp earth with silky fruit with mint and crushed black fruit on the balanced and long finish while the Rhone blend Rotie was juicy and ripe.
2012 Pont de Gassac Pays de L’Herault (Languedoc-Roussillon) / 2010 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla-Walla).
Both nice wines, the Gassac had a toasty and smoky berry nose with crushed rocks and slate on the firm finish while the Canoe Ridge had dusty blueberries on the nose with tight, mint and dusty fruit on the mineraly finish.