This past Saturday I attended the Chefs & Champagne fundraiser event held at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. The event was the annual tasting party run by the James Beard Foundation and featured small bite culinary offerings by 30 chefs and liquid refreshments by Wolffer Winery and Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. It was an outdoor event under a huge tent and the weather gods smiled on us that day. The weather was gorgeous, if we would have had one of those oppresively hot days, we all would have been baking under that tent, not to mention what the cooks would have been going through slaving over a hot stove.
The Feuillate Champagnes that they poured included the 1997 Palmes d’Or Brut, the 2004 Brut, the Brut NV and the Rose NV. Wolffer Estate poured their 2009 Chardonnay, the 2011 Rose, the 2008 Merlot, the 2007 Fatum (Bordeaux blend) and the 2010 Diosa late harvest Chardonnay. For a warm Summer afternoon I stuck with the Pink Champagne for my beverage of choice, it was crisp, light and refreshing and went well with most of the food offerings.
It was a pretty crowd. I made my way through most of the food offerings, and of course there were some that I enjoyed more than others. At the carving station they served slices of Spanish Pata Negra (Black Hoof) cured ham. These babies feast on acorns before being processed into cured hams. Very expensive, a slice of the fat-streaked amber meat melts in you mouth with all the porky flavor and the right amount of salt. Very tasty.
Todd English served oysters (Blue Points) several ways. I like the ones “Escargot Style” which were grilled with butter, chopped parsley, lots of garlic and white wine. Another way I liked them was topped with crabmeat with a red pepper remoulade. Luke’s restaurant served miniature Maine Lobster rolls. Served on a buttered toasted bun. The lobster was tossed with a minamal amount of mayo so I got a mouthful of lobster in every bite. And really, how can you not like lobster on a buttered roll? Very tasty. Jeremy Culver served a chilled pea soup with lobster which was an excellent Summer dish, cool, refreshing and delicious. Jeremy McMillian served Puglian Mozzerella with grilled tomatoes, nigella and fresh pollen. It was a very interesting dish, the mozzarella was unusual in that it had the texture of ricotta only more tangy. It was another nice Summer dish. I also enjoyed Seamus Mullin’s dish of grilled octopus with summer squash, sun gold tomatoes and olive vinaigrette
I stopped by the after party to nosh on some more Spanish ham and drink splits of pink champagne out of a straw. I hope none of my wine-geeks friends saw me do that.
This past Saturday myself and a colleague took a leisurely drive to wine country out east. I usually start the day at a winery at the eastern edge of the island and work my way back west. I decided that today I would concentrate on white wines and rose. Our fist stop was One Women Wines & Vineyard located at 5195 Old North Road in Southold. A small family run operation, the one women owner and wine maker is Claudia Perita and her perky and hard working daughter Gabriella who is usually overseeing the little shack of a tasting room. They produce some very nice wines. They bottle the only Gruner Veltner (2010) on Long Island as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. I had the 2008 Estate Reserve Chardonnay, aged in new oak, nose of pineapple and honey with a full mouth feel. The 2008 Chardonnay aged mostly in steel, was crisp and steely.
After leaving the winery we headed east to the village of Greenport. I have to admit with all the times I’ve been to the wineries this was the first time I stopped in Greenport. A scenic former whaling town it was chock full of day trippers on this sunny Saturday afternoon. We stopped for lunch at one of the dock-side restaurants, Claudio’s Clam Shack. I had sashimi tuna nachos with a wasabi sauce which went pretty well with the glass of local rose I was drinking. After a double espresso and a biscotti, it was time to head back west.
On the way back we stopped at McCall Winery located at 22600 Main Road Cutchogue. A cattle rancher turned winemaker, the tasting room is in a rustic potato barn and I sipped on the 2010 Marjorie’s Rose of Pinot Noir. Driving further west, the last stop was at the Roanoke Vineyards at 3543 Sound View Avenue, Riverhead and I finished the day with the very tasty 2011 DeRosa Rose.
This Saturday afternoon I attended a tasting of Rose wines held at Le Du Wine shop located at 600 Washington Street. They poured twenty two wines. Rose are your typical Summer wines, not heavy but refreshing with just enough body to make them interesting though I think the flavor profiles are limited. Personally, my go to wine in the hot weather is dry Lambrusco. Cold, fizzy, and goes down easy, the perfect Summer sipper.
At the tasting they poured mostly French wines with some North Americans and a couple of Italians thrown in.
From Long Island I tried the 2011 Channing Daughters Petit Verdot and the 2011 Croteaux Merlot 181. I have been to the Croteaux vineyard out east. All they produce is rose in various blends and the backyard tasting room is very rustic and scenic.
From Italy they poured the 2011 Domani Marengo Negromaro (Puglia) and the very good 2011 Pertimali Rosato di Toscana (100% Sangiovese). Some of the French I enjoyed were the 2011 Olga Raffault Chinon (Loire), the 2011 Lucien Crochet Sancerre (Loire), the 2011 La Coste Rose D’Une Nuit (Provence) and the 2011 Lafon Roset (Bordeaux). From Cali I liked the 2011 Bedrock Ode to Lulu Mouvedre (Sonoma).