As odd as this may sound, there are some fabulous kosher California wines being made these days at a tiny commercial winery just outside of Borough Park in Brooklyn. The winery’s name is Goblet and the winemaker, Yanky Drew, is a chasidic Jew with close to 10 years and 20 harvests professionally under his belt.
Drew has been making wine at his Brooklyn winery since 2013, all the while continuing his day job at the City Winery in New York City — an urban winery, restaurant, music venue and private event space. He’s been on the winemaking team there since 2009, and oversees their limited kosher wine portfolio.
“As a kid, I always tried to turn table grapes into wine,” he told me last week in a phone interview. “I started out as a typical home-winemaker; I always enjoyed chemistry and was fascinated with the process of winemaking; and, of course, I like drinking wine.”
He eventually interned at two vineyards on Long Island.
At the North Fork-based Palmer Vineyards, Dew learned a little more about the winemaking process and in return was given grapes to play with. He made his first 70-gallon batch of wine there in 2004. Continuing his wine hobby, he began buying wine barrels to maintain his amateur production. This ultimately led him to discovering the City Winery, where he soon found an opportunity to pursue his wine interests.
Drew said he “learned a ton about wine making early on at City Winery, from growing to bottling, even just starting with the idea of making excellent wine in an urban setting, far removed from where the fruit is grown.”
The Goblet Winery, his pride and joy, is “a micro, micro winery. Really, really small,” he said. “But, I put in there every single piece of necessary equipment to make superior wine — I’m using the smallest high-end professional equipment you can get.”
Goblet produces just 12-15 barrels of wine each year, and so has around 40 barrels filled at any given moment.
“It’s practically home winemaking volumes,” he jokes, “but professionally made.” The price of his wines is, accordingly, fairly high.
Available directly from the winery (Gobletwines.com), and with assorted bottles also available at kosherwine.com, here are three Goblet wines to seek out and try.
Goblet, Riesling (Seneca Lake, N.Y.) 2017 ($37.99): Full and vivacious with clean, ripe citrusy aromas and flavors, along with passion fruit and apple skins. Great balancing acidity; refreshing and tasty. Very easy to quaff, but rewards contemplative concentration too. More “nearly dry,” or even “mostly dry,” than the more traditional “off dry” offerings for the general Finger Lakes region, but the beautiful kiss of sweetness is significant enough to prevent this from being
Goblet, Pinot Noir (Mendocino County, Calif.) 2015 ($69): Medium bodied, yet rounded and fairly rich, with very ripe plum and assorted cherries (especially black cherry), along with some lovely earthy notes and definite hints of violet. Well-structured and very appealing, very New World and ripe, but with an underlying elegance. Initially assertive but nicely layered and complex at the back end. Very enjoyable.
Goblet, Syrah (Mendocino County, Calif.) 2014 ($69): Intriguing nose and flavors of dark fruits, smoked meats spice, and a touch of something like eucalyptus in the background. Palate is medium-bodied, sensuous, savory, dry, rich and complex. Finish is long and utterly absorbing. L’chaim!
Send your wine and spirits questions to Joshua E. London at [email protected].