Dan’s Rosé Soirée Countdown: Alie Shaper, Brooklyn Oenology

Alie Shaper
Alie Shaper. Photo: Courtesy Brooklyn Oenology

If you’re coming out to Dan’s Rosé Soirée on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28) at the Southampton Arts Center you know you’ll be in good hands. Among the many winemakers and chefs, look for Alie Shaper, President and Winemaker of Brooklyn Oenology and winemaker at Southold’s Croteaux Vineyards. She knows just what to do. As she says, “It’s the beginning of summer! I can never get enough rosé myself. I LOVE picnicking, it’s my favorite way to eat. If I could eat salami or prosciutto, with a delicious cheese, crusty French bread, fresh olives, and dried fruit and nuts with a robust rosé every day, I would.”

And, as she says, “Our wine region is unique—we have seagulls in our vineyards! Our terroir is very distinctive from the rest of the United States, and so our winemakers have natural elements that enable us to make wines that are reflections of our land, our sea, our special place on the Atlantic and the wonderful way of life we have here. As winemakers we can embody the concept of “what we grow together, goes together”—and that wine IS food. Long Island wines are made to express and enhance the natural resources and agriculture that define the East End character—anyone out here knows that we’ve got killer seafood, meats, and produce right in our collective backyard! [In this] region winemakers have learned how to craft wines that work with our particular local food and culture—and isn’t it awesome that the East End has it’s own special place in the wine universe?”

What was the moment when you knew you’d have a career in wine?
I was working at my first wine industry job in my late 20s, at a tasting room in the Hudson Valley—I’d been working there for three months, and on an early autumn day during a special event, I was having such a good time talking to guests about the wines, that I realized then and there that this was the path of the rest of my life.

What Long Island wines are currently in your home wine library?
I have Croteaux’s 2015 Sparkling Jolie Cabernet Franc rosé, which is deepening really nicely. As Croteaux’s winemaker, it’s one of my favorites of our whole portfolio. There’s a Sparkling Pointe 2006 Brut Seduction hiding somewhere, as well as several 2012 and 2013 North Fork red wines. And because I’ve been in the New York wine industry for so long, I have a great collection of late ’90s merlots, cabernet sauvignons and Bordeaux-styles from the likes of Bedell Cellars, Macari Vineyards, Pellegrini Vineyards, and Paumanok Vineyards. They have held up so well—nearly 20 years later they have the texture of velvet.

Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine?
For one—it’s delicious! I think we can all have great pride in our local agriculture. In a time when land is getting gobbled up for building for an exploding population, we can count ourselves very lucky for having such good land for growing and raising clean and nutritious food. If nothing else, we should seek out our local commodities in order to ensure the preservation of our land and open spaces, both for our physical and mental well being.

If I got a tattoo tomorrow it would show: a backplate, depicting the entire morphology of a grape vine, “growing” across my back and shoulders.

What do you have in your pantry that would make another wine or food pro jealous?
Manuka honey—it’s like honey on steroids, with an especially complex flavor profile.

What skill or concept have you learned recently that you’re eager to use in your work?
Last summer I went to Provence specifically to study rosé, to understand the techniques, grape varieties, and styles used, and made, in the rosé homeland. Since then I’ve employed a lot of the concepts in my own winemaking, from juice management to flavor development, to the use of either stainless steel tanks or oak barrels for creating fresh and unexpected styles of rosé. And since I’m also the winemaker for Croteaux, during 2016 harvest I had the opportunity to make so many styles and cuvées of rosé, from fresh, light and fruity to more deeply colored and fuller-bodied styles that are meant to be released much later in the season for fall drinking.

Why is rosé so popular in the Hamptons?
Because they make us think of a lifestyle; I think of the South of France, myself, and I imagine many other people do too. After my trip to Provence last year, I realized that the East End actually has a very similar wine-and-seascape setting, so, naturally, we’ve developed our own version! Rosé is also a style of wine that compliments our local food, and that too is similar to the Provençal cuisine. I think over the years we’re going to see many more styles of rosé being made, and you’ll find yourself drinking it year-round.

What’s special about the rosés you’re bringing to Dan’s Rosé Soirée?
I’m bringing the concept of AGEABLE ROSÉS. Contrary to popular opinion, rosé can age well beyond its first year in the bottle! It’s not true of every rosé, but, with the right composition and vinification methods, they can last for two, three, five, and, rarely, up to 10 years. I’ve tasted many rosés that have reached their peak flavor in their second and third years.

Find the latest info on all of Dan’s Taste of Summer events this summer—Dan’s Rosé Soirée, the official kickoff event of summer in the Hamptons on Memorial Day Weekend (May 28); the new Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio, a Mexican-themed fiesta at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Adam Richman, Travel Channel host, author, food & travel explorer on July 7; Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, back for its second summer on July 8; Dan’s GrillHampton (July 21), celebrating its 5th anniversary; and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company (July 22), now in its 7th year—at DansTaste.com.

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