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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

Long Island Wine at a Locavore Feast

Wölffer Estate Merlot-Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon Long Island Fatalis Fatum 2007

Thomas Matthews
Posted: June 18, 2012

New York presented its locavore bounty recently in a fund-raising dinner at the Brooklyn Kitchen, a hipster outpost tucked under the gritty Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Williamsburg. The combination general store, artisanal butcher shop and demonstration kitchen celebrates the locally grown, the homemade and the hands-on. You can learn to butcher a pig, join a book club or learn the basics of wine tasting.

The star of the store’s meat section is Kinderhook Farm, a Hudson Valley-based supplier of grass-fed, humanely raised beef and lamb. Kinderhook’s beef short ribs were the centerpiece for the dinner, braised in Syrah and served over creamy, Parmesan-laced polenta.

The rich, savory dish was matched with a Bordeaux blend from the East End of Long Island, Wölffer’s 2007 Fatalis Fatum (a Latin phrase that translates as “causing ruin or destruction,” though the wine did neither, but quite the opposite). Winemaker Roman Roth aims the wine at the middle ground between the earthiness of Bordeaux and the fruitiness of California, and it delivered. Polished and balanced, it offered cherry, tobacco and mineral flavors with softening tannins and lively acidity, making it a refreshing contrast to the ribs. Maturing now, it still promises a few years of pleasure; I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

The dinner benefited ioby, a Web-based, crowd-sourcing organization that raises funds for local projects concerned about food issues and the environment. (Disclosure: my wife, Sara, was chair of the event.) One of the evening’s beneficiaries was BK Farmyards, an urban agriculture project that supplied herbs for the dinner, nicely completing the circle of good food and good works.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Wölffer Estate Merlot-Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon Long Island Fatalis Fatum 2007 (89 points, $40).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Long Island wines.

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