Author Archive

Posted on May 16, 2012 - by

Summer Class Schedule Coming Soon!


Posted on April 30, 2012 - by

New York State of Ferment: Channing Daughters Winery & NY’s Finest Cheese

Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 7pm
61 Local, 2nd Floor Private Room
61 Bergen St between Boerum Pl and Smith St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Cost: $40

Featured Guest Speaker: Christopher Tracy, winemaker/partner, Channing Daughters Winery, Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Join 61 Local and Brooklyn Fermented for an exploration of Empire State wine-and-cheese harmony in this one-night-only educational tasting led by Channing Daughters winemaker Christopher Tracy and Brooklyn Fermented’s Adrian Murcia.

Sample a diverse range of wines from Long Island’s pioneering Channing Daughters Winery alongside a seasonal line-up of New York State’s top artisanal cheese.

Founded in 1982, Channing Daughters Winery has distinguished itself as something of an East End outlier, producing wines of exceptional personality and striking singularity, earning along the way an enviable following among consumers and wine professionals alike.

Since joining Channing Daughters in 2001, winemaker Christopher Tracy has maintained a remarkable balance between what you might call a ‘New World’ innovative restlessness–avid varietal and clonal experimentation; ever-changing, often unusual varietal blends–and a decidedly ‘Old World’ respect for site-specific expression in the vineyard, minimal intervention in the cellar, and food-friendliness in the bottle.

And what better way to highlight a wine’s food affinity than pairing it up with lovingly crafted, expressive local cheese? Fifteen years ago, New York had only a handful of artisanal cheesemakers. These days, mirroring a national trend, New York is turning out an ever-widening palette of world-class dairy gems from all over the state, and our palates are grateful.

Working with Saxelby Cheesemogers, we’ve hand-picked a dairy ‘suitor’ for every ‘daughter’; you tell us if you think the marriages work.

No matter what, we’ll all get a tasty snapshot of just how far New York State’s cheesemakers have come over the last decade or so, and sample some of the state’s most intriguing wines with the man who made them.

61 Local is a convivial public house in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, celebrating locally crafted food, drink and the people who make it. 61 Local regularly hosts programming and events spotlighting the spirited Brooklyn community.

Brooklyn Fermented is a roving outfit of gastro-professionals dedicated to the advancement and unbridled enjoyment of lovingly-crafted, regionally-expressive wine, cheese, and beer.


Posted on November 13, 2011 - by

Sunday Provisions, or Why the Kitchen smells like a Barn

Every two or three months or so, a small group of friends and I—Chanterelle alums all of us—convene at a BYOB joint in town to catch up, chow down, and share good bottles of wine.  It’s usually Chinese, sometimes barbecue, and always a kick.

Tonight’s edition is kind of special. Actually, A LOT special, because one of those alums has offered to cook a meal for the group at his home, and that alum happens to be David Waltuck, chef and co-owner of that late, great Tribeca outpost of civility and refinement.

For the occasion it seemed appropriate to bring both wine and a small cheese course.  I ran into David near his home in the West Village the other day and found out what he’s making:  Cassoulet.*  Which means, of course, red wine. Something rustic, dense, autumnal.  Definitely French.  Madiran. Côte-Rôtie. Something Proveçal.  Maybe I can track down a bottle of Château Simone.  Have to think about that one, do a little research, see what I can spend.

The cheese, happily, I already have on hand. I had planned to visit Formaggio Essex yesterday, see what kind of weird and raw and stinky wheels they had picked up in Long Island City this week, but with the F and G lines amputated this weekend, and with the early sunsets putting the clamp-down on my inter-borough wanderlust, I hopped the B-67 to Bklyn Larder instead, and, after a quick hello to manager Tim Solomon—an Alabama native and likely the most cordial cheesemonger you’re  bound to encounter in the lower 48—I asked managing partner Sergio Hernandez for a run-down on the good stuff.

I’m pleased to report that the first item he mentioned, Vacherin Mont d’Or—seasonal Swiss, raw cow’s milk, rustic, wrapped in spruce bark—sent waves of contentment through my being.  I had come to the right place. Not always so easy to find, made only in the cold months—when high-elevation pastures, the flavor source for all those fabled hard, aged mountain cheeses of west central Europe, get a snow break—Vacherin Mont d’Or benefits from the (relatively) high fat content of winter feed: hay, preferably unfermented.  When ripe and ready, the cheese is spoonable, farmy, fruity, and bacony (the slightly smoky influence transferred from the spruce rind).

Sergio told me to keep the cheese out all night to ensure its spoonability. I complied. My roommate told me this morning that the kitchen smelled like a barn, “but in a good way.”

I remember long ago, in fall 2003 I think it was, I had dinner in the basement of Prune with my high school buddy Chris Loyd and my then-girlfriend Liz Thorpe, and I remember thinking how simple (and brilliant) it was that Gabrielle Hamilton served Vacherin Mont d’Or in whole wheels only, accompanied only by slices of apple and pear.  I loved that. And that’s how I am serving it tonight.

I’d like to write a bit more about the other two cheeses Sergio turned me onto—San Andreas from Bellwether Farms in Sonoma County and a new (to me) Swiss hard cheese called Holzhofer, aged by a woman named Caroline Hostettler, whose name Sergio uttered with no small reverence—but, alas, I have probably already written too much and I still have to get ready and purchase wine.

More to come.

*Every time I think of Cassoulet, I think about another David—David Pasternack, and the inimitable way he would announce it at pre-service meetings at Picholine on nights it was a ‘classic cuisine’ special. (This was a while back, when Dave was Terrance Brennan’s Chef de Cuisine at Picholine, before he went on to his own well-deserved stardom as chef-partner at Esca) “Alright guys,” Dave would say in his thick Long Beach accent, “tonight’s classic cuisine is Cassoulet… in the style of Toulouse!,” pausing for a second or two after ‘Cassoulet’ and elongating slightly the final vowel sound in ‘Toulouse’, dropping his pitch to a low guttural scratch at the same time, and sounding a bit like a late-period Serge Gainsbourg trying to sound like a South Shore fisherman.  Awesome.

Posted on November 10, 2011 - by

The Cuisine and Wines of Spain: Brooklyn Fermented at City Winery

Join Brooklyn Fermented’s Adrian Murcia as he leads an autumnal tasting tour of Spanish gastronomy  inside Manhattan’s cozy oenophilic hideaway City Winery. Attendees will explore the diversity of Spain’s vibrant wine culture through a sampling of seven thoughtfully selected wines paired alongside three courses of seasonally inspired Spanish fare prepared by City Winery Chef Andres Barrera.  Wines will include Adegas Benaza’s bright and juicy Godello from the little-known Spanish denominación de origen of Monterrei in Galicia; an elegant and super-classic 1998 Rioja Gran Reserva from the family-run gem-of-a-winery Hermanos Peciña in Rioja Alta; Pinyolet Selección, a jammy and complex Montsant made in tiny quantities from gnarly old Garnacha and Cariñena vineyards planted at high elevations in the early part of the last century; and Jorge Ordoñez & Co.’s stunning late-harvest Moscatel de Alejandria from Málaga.

City Winery
155 Varick Street
New York, NY
Monday, November 14, 2011
7 p.m.
Presenter:  Adrian Murcia, Brooklyn Fermented

Posted on July 6, 2011 - by

Señorio de P. Peciña Rioja Joven 2009 & Ossau-Iraty

Hermanos Peciña, Señorio de P. Peciña Joven 2009, DOCa Rioja (La Rioja, Spain), $12.99/750ml95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, 2% Garnacha
Ossau-Iraty, Onetik cooperative (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France), $28/lb.unpasteurized sheep milk

With the exception of vines as far as the eye can see, the most common sight in Rioja, situated in north-central Spain’s upper Ebro River valley, is probably locals tucking into chulletillas (baby lamb chops grilled over vine cuttings) and cordero asado al horno de leña (leg of lamb roasted in wood-fired ovens) at lunchtime. And since Riojanos have been working the vine here for well over a thousand years, it makes sense that the earthy, cherry/raspberry-scented, Tempranillo-based reds they’ve been turning out for so long should match the flavors of the local diet. The felicitous Tempranillo-lamb combo extends to Rioja and sheep cheese as well; Rioja and Manchego are in fact a classic match. Here silky, sweet, and buttery Ossau-Iraty, a shepherd cheese from the western Pyrénées of France with an ancient pedigree, stands in for its Spanish cousin. Joven, Spanish for ‘young,’ is Rioja’s entry-level red category/age designation and spends less than a year in oak barrels, if it sees any time at all. Peciña’s exuberant, but still recognizably old-world Joven adds sweet tones to the cheese’s unmistakable meatiness, while simultaneously echoing, albeit subtlety, a decidedly umami savory character also apparent in the cheese.

Wine: Slope Cellars, 436 7th Avenue (14th & 15th), Brooklyn, NY. tel. (718) 369-7307

Cheese: Bklyn Larder, 228 Flatbush Ave. (Bergen & 6th Ave.), Brooklyn, NY. tel. (718) 783-1250

Posted on June 21, 2011 - by

Gurrutxaga Txacolí Rosé & Queso de los Beyos

Gurrutxaga Txacolí Rosé 2010 DO Bizkaiko Txakolina (País Vasco), $22.99/750ml – 100% Hondarribi Beltza
Queso de los Beyos (Asturias, Spain), $19/lb.unpasteurized cow milk

Once upon a time, Txacolí, the Basque Country’s national aperitif, hardly ever made it out these good-eating and good-drinking communities. Now, serious shops in the U.S. tend to keep a bunch on hand. And with good reason: these wines refresh and pique the palate nicely. Roses are also now in the mix, and Gurrutxaga is the finest I’ve tasted.

The firm, pasteurized Asturian cow’s milk Queso de los Beyos, slightly dry at first but creamy once it melts in the mouth, gets fruity in the mouth with a little sip of this otherwise rather austere wine. Owing to its Parmesano-like texture, Beyos is also a great cheese to break up into shards and to serve with fresh berries of any kind, the better to compliment the strawberry fruitiness of this fine summer rosado.

Posted on May 21, 2011 - by

Some recent press for Brooklyn Fermented

Our last class, Fermented Spain, Wine, Cheese & Ham, was a great success. We were joined by wine writer Diane Letulle, who reviewed our class for the wine blog Catavino. The review can be found at:

Photo courtesy of Diane Letulle

Posted on May 21, 2011 - by

The Fermented Riviera: France & Italy from Bandol to Cinque Terre

Coastal wine & mountain cheese at the Brooklyn Museum

Friday, June 24, 2011
7:00 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.

Great Hall, 1st Floor
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway

For centuries, summer travelers have flocked to the balmy Mediterranean coastline of southeast France and northwest Italy in search of salty air and  sunshine. Often associated with free-flowing rivers of inexpensive rosé, the Côte d’Azur and Riviera Ligure also boast stunning wines truly worth writing home about, including a number of head-turning reds from Provence. On the Italian side, the crescent-shaped, little-known region of Liguria produces some of the most aromatically complex—and compulsively gulpable—white wines made anywhere in the world.

And there’s also good news for cheese lovers. Two mountain ranges virtually embrace this 350-kilometer pocket of choice coastline:  the Alpes Maritimes and the Apennines, protective barriers against potentially party-crashing continental climatic influence. But venture an hour or two inland by car, from pretty much anywhere across the entire perimeter of the Riviera, and you’ll encounter a treasury of some of Europe’s finest artisanal cheese terroirs.

Join us for a tasting tour of the Fermented Riviera, as we look for harmony between mountain pasture and coastal vineyard.

Class will take place inside a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum called reOrder, an architectural installation housed within the museum’s Great Hall.  Designed by Brooklyn-based creative practice Situ Studio, the installation comprises a series of stretched fabric canopies and integrated furnishings that swell, expand, and augment the profile of the existing monumental columns.

The Brooklyn Museum is open Thursdays and Fridays until 10 p.m., leaving ample time for students to explore the museum on their own after class.

Photos courtesy of Diane Letulle

Posted on January 17, 2011 - by

Brooklyn Fermented is a roving academy of food and wine professionals dedicated to the informed, unfussy appreciation of well-crafted, regionally expressive wine, cheese and beer. We offer classes at venues across the borough and beyond.

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