A COBBLE HILL CHEF AND RESTAURATEUR TRIES HIS HAND AT CUSTOM WINE MAKING

BY MATT SCANLON

Marco Chirico, a Johnson & Wales trained chef, presides over the kitchen at Enoteca on Court, a wine bar and restaurant in Cobble Hill. Its considerable list of bottles spans continents and more than a dozen grape varieties, but until earlier this year lacked a type that Chirico had long coveted.

“I’m a chef, and the owner of an enoteca [roughly translated to “wine bar” or “tavern” in Italian], so it made sense to start making my own,” he said. “My dad would often press grapes and home bottle, so I essentially knew the process. I’d thought for a long while that it’d be terrific to select and blend varieties that specifically addressed my menu items. It would be a challenge, but who could pass up that opportunity?”

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So, Chirico reached out to Staten Island’s own Vino Divino School of Wine, which offers not only access to harvested grapes, but also the facilities to make custom blends then age them in oak barrels in its climate controlled facility. Founded in 2003, Vino Divino makes two harvests strategically available for maker/restaurateur calendars, Chile’s in April, then California’s in September. For his Enoteca Marco Blend available by the glass or bottle the chef chose a Chilean combination of cabernet, syrah, cannonau, and grenache, the result a “medium bodied, easy drinking wine, full of nice dark fruit and hints of spices like black pepper,” he explained. “It goes perfectly with the house pizza as well as the hanger steak. The herbs blend beautifully with those of the fresh tomato sauce, and the steak’s butteriness helps make an already smooth drinking experience even better. It’s also terrific with cheese and small tapas [both also featured on the Enoteca menu].”

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There’s a new variety in the wings, too, one that’ll be available shortly after October’s harvest. At the moment, Chirico is experimenting with “something a little unconventional: a white pinot noir. We’re still in the experimental phase, but I’m hoping that it’s going to be season perfect. I just need to come up with a winning name!”

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Enoteca on Court
347 Court Street / 718.243.1000
enotecaoncourt.com