Consider one signature day in the life of New York sommelier Paul Brady: On one memorable morning in 2018, he sat for an interview upstate for his current role, as the first official New York Wines Brand Ambassador in the history of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, then made it back to Manhattan to oversee a dinner honoring New York wines at Tom Colicchio’s Temple Court. This is one man who is steeped in New York State’s wine culture.
Brady earned his sommelier certification in 2015, though he’s assumed the role since 2011, when he poured at the Brooklyn Winery’s wine bar. “I was always very strategic about working for venues that had programs that included New York wines,” he says. Throughout his career, from stretches at Hearth to Rouge Tomate to his most recent sommelier stint at Temple Court, he nurtured enduring relationships with New York wineries. So to say his new job is a natural fit would be an understatement. Having just returned from a trade trip on Long Island, Brady is bullish on 2019 vintages. Brady has worked tirelessly to elevate and promote the profile
of North Fork and Hamptons vineyards in the city’s finer restaurants. “One place where you can always get a Long Island wine by the glass is Gramercy Tavern,” he says. “They have great relationships with all kinds of producers. They offered a sparkling wine by Channing Daughters last time I was there.” He also praises Corkbuzz for their wines sourced from Macari Vineyards on the North Fork.
The sommelier says that the key concept that distinguishes the North Fork from the South Fork is terroir. “One of the differences between the two regions is the soil,” he explains. “The South Fork has Bridgehampton loam, which sits on top of otherwise sandy soil, whereas the North Fork is decomposed glacial material—sand, basically. The overall climactic effect is that the North Fork is a little bit warmer and can garner a riper form of that Bordeaux-style blend.” Brady advises to look to the south— Sagaponack’s Wolffer Estate Vineyard—for Cabernet Franc and Merlot, as well as to Channing Daughters, which he says draws from both north and south.
This 100 percent solar-powered winery put Aquebogue on the viticulture map of the North Shore. Paumanok’s version of the French wine, commonly associated with the Loire Valley, and is a crisp and subtly fruity accompaniment to oysters, lobster and white-meat fish like striped bass.
First Red Crush
A juicy, satisfying blend of 72% Merlot and 28% Cabernet Franc, this handcrafted young-grape offering bursts with the flavors of red fruit and berries—and the eye-catching label art of Mickalene Thomas. Located in the North Fork’s scenic Cutchogue, Bedell has a lineage that goes back nearly 40 years.
Petillant Naturel Bianco
A rare white blend of Pinot Grigio (45%), Sauvignon Blanc (45%), and Tocai Friulano (10%), this sparkling white perfectly balances acidity and sweetness. Complex enough to suggest white flowers, minerals and yeasty bread, Petillant Naturel Bianco hails from the renowned Bridgehampton winery.
This little-known wine from Cutchogue on the North Fork has been steadily gaining popularity and critical laurels. With a deep array of flavors for the palette—plum, black cherry and cedar—this merlot also makes a bold impression on this nose, with mulberry, pine and cocoa powder scents.
Rosè for the Bays
The award-winning East End vineyard—which, dating from 1973, is the oldest on Long Island—compares its microclimate to that of Bordeaux. With the aromas of strawberry, raspberry and hibiscus and a flavor profile that boasts berries along with rhubarb, the vineyard offers a rose that’s a celebration in a bottle.
Bottled by one of the best-known vintners in the Hamptons, Wolffer’s offering is one of the most popular brands on Long Island. The three-decade-old winery prides itself on this balanced varietal, which delivers fruitiness and medium fullness with the notes of spice and tobacco for which Cabernet Franc is known.