Brooklyn Winery's team crafts small-batch, artisanal wines in Williamsburg?and if winemaking in an urban environment sounds odd to customers, they can always find out how it works during Tuesday winery tours. The tour guides walk groups through their entire process, from the moment the grapes arrive at the facility to when the cork goes in the final wine bottle, trapping the wine genie inside for good. Of course, the process varies from wine to wine. The team ages some vintages in stainless-steel containers, while the barrel-fermented riesling is aged, predictably, in oak barrels, an old-school technique that originated in prerefrigeration Germany. The result? A quirky riesling with hints of soapstone, mushroom, and honey.
The team doesn't just reclaim old German traditions, though. For their unpretentious 1,200-square-foot wine bar, they also reclaimed most of the building materials. In the cozy, unpretentious bar, visitors sip vintages pulled from wine racks that were once World War II ammo boxes; the walls, meanwhile, were barn wood in a past life, and the bar itself is made from old church pews, completing the aura of modernity rooted in history.
Brasserie 214 traces its roots far across the space-time continuum. The original iteration of the restaurant launched way back in 1938, but recent renovations and menu evolutions have brought French, Northern Italian, Belgian, German, and Scandinavian culinary traditions to the fore. Entrees such as salmon niçoise and duck à l'orange, as well as specialty schnitzels, exemplify the kind of elegant dinner, lunch, and brunch fare prepared by the skilled chefs. Imported beers and stateside craft brews pour from the taps to complement that selection. Of course, it wouldn't be a Long Island brasserie or a valid retirement destination without a robust cocktail selection. To that end, bartenders mix together specialty martinis, sangria, and sidecars with Bacardi, Disaronno, and fresh lemon juice served in a sugar-rimmed martini glass.
The Gnarly Vine doesn't have any trouble winning visitors' affections, perhaps owing to its romantic atmosphere, as described by Westchester Magazine, or perhaps because of its abundance of wine. Westchester Magazine ranked the relaxed venue as one of the best bars in Westchester and also named it the Best Chill Bar Spot in 2009. Featuring a menu of seasonal small plates and a wine list that rattles off more than a hundred vintages by the bottle, The Gnarly Vine inspires the sharing of dishes, toasts, and fire-safety reminders across candle-lit tables.
When wine distributor Jennifer Deutsch envisioned Crush Wine Bar, she wanted a place that “feels like you’re in someone’s living room,” as she told the Journal News. Indeed, there’s an intimate feel to the place: you can sit at a comfortable couch or stand by a gas fireplace as you sip any of more than 50 wines by the glass and bottle. The kitchen staff creates small, inventive bites designed to complement each varietal of wine. Of these plates, you can dine on their roasted-mushroom and spinach-artichoke dip, share platters of cured meats, or replace your spare tire with a wheel of creamy baked danish brie.
The oenophiles behind Novit? Wine Bar and Trattoria are so passionate about wine that they had a digital, temperature-controlled wine-serving system custom built for them in Australia. It's given their bar the ability to serve 100 wines from around the world by the glass on any given day. Because of the system's ability to dole out 1/2-ounce tastes, 3.5-ounce pours, and 6-ounce full pours, it allows patrons to sample wines they might normally avoid due to their high bottle prices.
Wine may be what Novit? specializes in, but executive chef Ed Davis doesn't let it overshadow the food. He and his team whip up Naples-style pizzas and pastas topped with Maine lobster or stuffed with creamy burrata cheese. And for brunch, there's cappuccino french toast, a tastier option than the more traditional Italian breakfast dish of pancakes covered in marinara sauce.