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Low-cost bottles? Start wining at Red White & Bubbly

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It takes a tough shopkeeper to make a tender wine.

And Adam Goldstein, who owns the Red White & Bubbly shop on Fifth Avenue, is a fighter in your corner. His Brooklyn Wine Company, launched in 2005 with simple red and white varieties and prices that had them flying off the shelves, is back with three new versions that celebrate how great wine can be when you’re not being ripped off to buy it.

See, the problem is, most vintners are sitting there in their French chateau or their Spanish bottega devising the perfect, price-is-no-object wine. If it works out, they’ll sell it for $1,000 a bottle. If it doesn’t work out, is an average bottle of wine that you’ll still pay too much for.

But Goldstein goes about winemaking from the retail perspective.

“I figure out what I want the bottle to cost, and then I mix and match grapes that can keep me at that price point,” he said.

So in the case of his new “Brooklyn Red” ($12.95), that means lots of Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes, but just a hint of the sometimes pricey Cabernet Sauvignon.

And in the “Brooklyn White” ($11.95), the vast majority of the grapes are Chardonnay, with just a hint of Riesling.

And an earlier vintage, a 2005 Grand Army Meritage that’s still on sale at the shop, used two varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, but only 10 percent were from the high-priced bins destined for wineries trying to get you to spend more.

All of Goldstein’s grapes come from Long Island or the Finger Lakes region, so frugality is key.

“Twenty-five dollars is too much for a New York wine for most of my customers,” he said.

So how do the new varieties taste? The Brooklyn Red has a peppery nose that leads to a spiciness (from the Cabernet Franc) and the taste of dark fruits. It’s a medium-bodied wine that would beautifully cut through the fat in a skirt steak, while also serving as the dutiful cheerleader on the sidelines when you’re tucking into a fancy New York strip.

The white is full of apples, pears and honey (the Chardonnay speaks!), with a big upfront nose and sweet fruit. It lingers without a heavy mineral finish.

And the sparkling wine? We put a bottle of the $19.95 pseudo-Champagne in the fridge for when the Pulitzer for wine criticism is announced. This story is a shoe-in.

Brooklyn Wine Company wines at Red White & Bubbly [211 Fifth Ave. between Union and President streets in Park Slope, (718) 636-9463].

Posted 12:00 am, February 25, 2011
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