ABC’s Of Long Island

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ABC is an acronym for anything but Chardonnay or anything but Cabernet. That is a way to say that people should break out of their comfort zones of drinking the same thing all the time and try to drink other varietals other than Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Out on Long Island, the stalwart grapes are Chardonnay for white and early-ripening Merlot for red. There are other varietals planted, some more obscure than others and many with only a relatively few acres planted. On Sunday I took a trip out East to try those different and sometimes overlooked (for Long Island) wines.

Paumanok Vineyards: 1074 Main Rd., Aquebogue. One of the originals founded in 1983. A family run operation with the tasting room in a renovated turn of the century barn.

2014 Chenin Blanc. As far as I know the only Chenin grown out East, unoaked steel fermented 100% Chenin Blanc. Pale yellow in color, floral lemon and grapefruit on the nose with bright, clean fruit and a nice, crisp finish with lemon notes at the end.


One-Women Vineyards: 5195 Old North Road, Southold. Small winery with owner/winemaker Claudia Purita (the one-women), off the main road with a little red shack for a tasting room. They have a tasting room in Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan as well.

2014 Gruner Veltliner. The first and only producer of this Austrian varietal on Long Island with about four acres planted . Light yellow with some greenish tints, floral peach on the nose, peach and earth notes on the moderate fruit with good acidity on the balanced finish. This vintage is showing more fruit than the previous one.


Osprey’s Dominion Winery: 44075 Main Road, Peconic, Right off the main road with a large tasting room and picnic facilities.

2012 Carmenere. I believe the only winery to grow this varietal on Long Island with 2.25 acres planted. Originally planted in the Medoc region of France and one of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux, it is a member of the Cabernet family. Rare now in France, widely planted in Chile. Served in a small glass, inky black in color, crushed red berries on the nose, concentrated and silky with juicy mint and some smoke on the balanced finish.


Pelligrini  Vineyards: 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue. Founded in 1983 with a pretty tasting room and self guided tours of the barrel room.

2001 Petit Verdot. One of the red grape varietals of the Bordeaux blend and not too often bottled on its own. Served in a small glass, inky black with big dark cocoa on the nose with that dark chocolate, black and pepper and some smoke coming through on the fruit.


My pet peeve: One part of the enjoyment of wine is drinking it in the proper vessel. That’s why the mouthfeel of the wine is better in a glass than in a paper cup. I understand that in a tasting room when you are pouring flights of wine, they use small wine glasses that are basically oversized shot glasses. To serve a full glass of wine in one of those classes really takes away from the experience. Being able to swirl the wine and getting your nose into the glass for a sniff of the aromas adds to the pleasure of drinking the wine as well as permitting the wine to open up and show all the aromas. It doesn’t have to be a Reidel glass but just something big enough to swirl the wine.




GimmeJoy Holiday Soirée

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Tis the season for holiday parties. To me it seemed that there were less consumer holiday parties this year than last, a couple of big events that were held last December weren’t replicated this year, or maybe I was just out of the loop. I did manage to attend one holiday party last Saturday evening on December 19th which was the Gimmejoy holiday party. The event was run by the same organization that ran the Secret Summer food and cocktail festival last August at The Foundry in Long Island City.

This soirée was held at the “hip and funky” artists’ loft, Poverty Row, deep in the heart of Chinatown in Manhattan at 277 Grand Street.

This was a more intimate event than the Summer event and was scheduled to run to 2am. With a team of mixologist making craft cocktails, a holiday photo booth, a DJ, live music by the jazz duo Acute Inflection and some frolicking reindeer; a good time was had by all.


Long Island Wines On A Sunday

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This month has been unseasonably  warm for December so on Sunday I took advantage of the warm weather and took a day trip to the North Fork of Long Island to visit some of the wineries.

Pugliese Vineyards: 34515 Main Road, Cutchogue

One of the original wineries on the North Fork established in 1980. Family owned and operated, you will always find a family member in the tasting room pouring wines. Pugliese has always produced sparkling wines and from what I understand, grow the only Sangiovese (about a couple of acres) on the Island.

2007 Blanc de Noir Nature Sparkling. Big copper color, doughy notes on the nose, crisp with bread notes on the finish.

2010 Blanc de Blanc Brut Sparkling. Nose of cooked bread, rising dough, lemon curd on the very ripe fruit.

2009 Merlot Sparkling. Fizzy with sweet herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with some green notes. Reminded me of a Lambrusco.

2012 Sangiovese. Medium to light red with pumpkin pie spices on the nose, tight and tart.


Lenz Winery: 38355 Route 25, Peconic

Another of the original wineries, founded in 1978 and having some the most mature vineyards in the area. I appreciate that they don’t release their wines too soon so you can try whites with some bottle age.

2012 Chardonnay “White Label”. Cold-fermented, gold in color with apricot on the nose, nice balance.

2013 Chardonnay “Gold Label”. Gold in color, toasty nose, dry with some oak on the fruit.

2012 Gewürztraminer. Light yellow with greenish tints, very aromatic, sweet floral, moderate fruit, low acid.

2012 Merlot. Medium to dark red, black cherry on the nose with toasty, black ripe leather on the fruit.


Duckwalk Vineyards North: 44535 Main Road, Southhold

The main winery is on the South Fork, this is the North Fork tasting room.

2014 Pinot Grigio. Light yellow in color, floral with some tropical notes on the fruit.


Sherwood House Vineyards: 1291 Main Road, Jamesport

The tasting room is in a comfortable 1860’s farmhouse connected to an antique shop barn where you can sip your wine around a fireplace.

2013 Chardonnay “Oregon Road”. The house chardonnay, last glass of the day, nice sipper.

Sunday Afternoon Wine In Chelsea

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This time of year are the dog days for wine events, the trade tastings slow down and most of consumer events are holiday cocktail parties. So I was happy to see that one of the Meetup groups I belong to was going to this wine tasting on a Sunday afternoon. Billed as “old world wines in an old world wine bar” the event took place at the Pierre Loti wine bar on 258 West 15th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan. The wine bar is one of a trio of similarly named wine bars in Manhattan named after a late 19th century French novelist, travel writer, naval sea captain and all around bon vivant  who become something of a national hero in Turkey.

The wine bar itself was small with a horseshoe shaped bar dominating the space. Apparently my Meetup group wasn’t the only group invited and the bar quickly filled up. The bartenders did a heroic job of pouring and explaining the wines to the many people elbowing their way to the bar. Cheeses and charcuterie were served with some nice juice and a good crowd making for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

NV Canard-Duchêne Champagne Brut (Champagne). Dry and crisp with none of the yeasty notes.

2013 Juliette Chenu Sauvignon (Pays D’OC). Stinky peaches on the nose, dusty fruit.

2014 Domaine Pepaquié Cote du Rhone Blanc (Rhone). Peachy notes, easy drinking.

2014 I Stefanini Soave Classico Monte De Toni (Veneto). Floral, white flowers on the nose, tart.

2012 I Stefanini Soave Classico Mont De Toni (Veneto). Sweet lime juice on the nose, green herbs on the tart fruit.

2013 Baldovino Tenuta I Fauri Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo (Abruzzo). Red licorice on the nose, tight, dusty with dried herbs on the tart finish.

2010 Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza (Rioja). Fragrant perfume of dark violets and tar, tight, silky and firm, some heat.

2004 Blason d’Issan Grand Cru Classe (Margaux). Big nose of tar and black cherry, dusty, green stems on the fruit, velvety with moderate to low tannin.

2004 Chateau d’Issan Grand Cru Classe (Margaux). Fragrant nose of crushed stone, tight and dense with firm acids oak on the finish.

2002 Chateau Lagrange Grand Cru Classe (St.-Julien). Stewed prunes on the nose, tight and dusty on the finish.

2013 Tokaji Kardos Late Harvest  (Hungary). Peach and apricot notes, not too sweet, low acids.