Hops & Props


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Hops & Props was a beer festival that was held on February 8th. The event took place at the Cradle of Aviation Museum which is located on Charles Lindberg Boulevard in Garden City, Long Island.

The event featured 100+ craft beer and cider scattered throughout the galleries of the museum.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is dedicated to the history of flight with galleries showcasing exhibits from the first hot air balloons to the space program. The museum houses many restored World War II fighter planes as well as an authentic Apollo-era lunar module. That lunar module was built by the Grumman Corp. which is based in nearby Bethpage and was scheduled to fly to the moon on the Apollo 18 mission. That mission was cancelled and the craft is now on exhibit in the museum. It was a cool venue to have a beer fest.

The museum sits on the Hempstead plains, a flat and treeless (at the beginning of the 20th century at least) part of central Nassau county on Long Island which made it a natural airfield. At the dawn of the aviation age, many flight schools and flying clubs made their homes in the area. Charles Lindbergh’s took off on his famous 1927 transatlantic flight from nearby Roosevelt Field which is now a shopping mall.



Dan’s Taste of Two Forks 2019


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Dan’s Paper is a weekly publication that focuses on the Hampton’s lifestyle. Their “Taste of Summer” is a series of food and wine parties out in the Hamptons that include everything from a rosé soirée to a taco fiesta.

On Saturday July 20th they hosted their 9th annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks. With this years demise of the long running (28 years) Chefs & Champagne event, the Taste of Two Forks, “the #1 event of the Summer in the Hampton’s” is now the premier foodie event on the east end.

It was a food and wine celebration with over 40 restaurants serving their signature dishes, 20 vineyards pouring wine along with beer, spirits and cocktails to accompany all that food. Music was provided by DJ Phresh.

The event which was one huge cocktail party was held under the big tents overlooking Mecox Bay at Fairview Farm located on 19 Horsemill Lane in Bridgehampton.

It was a brutally hot Summer day and it seemed that the outdoor venue might turn out to have sauna-like conditions, but a strong breeze off of Mecox Bay blissfully cooled down the temperature to comfortable levels. I was happy to spend the afternoon grazing and drinking Aperol spritzs and hard seltzer.



Some of the food I sampled:

The Clubhouse: Tuna tartare in crispy taco.

Saaz Indian: Chicken tikka masala, basmati rice.

Topping Rose House: Oyster kimchi.

Shinnecock Lobster Factory: Lobster fritters and truffle fondue.

Vermont Wagyu: Wagyu sliders.

The Frisky Oyster: Peconic gold oyster friskafeller.

Calissa: Brisket souvlaki.

North Sea Tavern: Seafood salad.

Grace & Grit: Spicy Long Island seafood chowder.

Union Cantina: Skirt steak taco.

Anker & Green Hill: Tuna, quinoa, cucumber, tomato, cilantro.

Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More: Slow smoked BBQ pulled pork sliders.

T Bar Southhampton: Yellowfin tuna tartare.

The Halyard: Crab and summer bean salad.

The Garden at Watermill: Scallop crudo.

Scarpetta Beach: Yellowtail crudo.

Mirabelle Restaurant: Rissoles of duck and foie gras.


More Summer Rosé Long Island


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Rosé season is kicking in to high gear now and there is plenty of pink wine coming out of the east end long island wineries to keep the thirsty satisfied.

Most of the wineries do a pretty good job of making a drinkable version.

One afternoon I drove out for another tasting.



Shinn Estate Vineyards  2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Winery using biodynamic wine practices, featuring a wine library with a barrel room view. They also have a B & B on property.

2018 Rosé

100% Merlot. Medium cherry red, crushed red cherry on the nose, red cherry and some funk on the medium body with moderate acids.


Lieb  Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cuthchogue

The rustic tasting room is in a quiet spot off the main road. Established in 1992, they make estate grown “small production reserve wines”. They also own a local custom crush winemaking facility.

2018 Bridge Lane Rosé

Mostly Cabernet Franc. Medium copper in color, fresh honeydew on the nose, clean melon notes on the fruit, moderate to low acids, very drinkable.


Paumanok Vineyards  1074 Main Road, Aquebogue

The first winery you run into on the main road wine trail. Established in 1983 and the first winery to grow a Chenin Blanc.

2018 Dry Rosé

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Orange-copper in color, dried herbs and funky melon on the nose with some of those funky notes coming through on the fruit, nice balance of acids.



Cider On Long Island

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Cider was once a staple of the early American diet. New laws promoting craft beverages is creating a cider renaissance in New York State, the second largest producers of apples in the United States.

On the north fork long island wine country, a couple of wineries bottle cider and a couple of cider houses opened showcasing cider made from local and New York State apples.


Lieb Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue. The tasting room is in a converted barn.

Rumor Mill sparkling cider: Made from east end apples, yellow with tints with green apples and mowed grass on the nose.


Woodside Orchard  729 Main Road, Aquebogue. Not only do they make hard cider but pies and doughnuts as well.

Traditional Cider: Pale yellow, fizzy when poured with greenish tints, crisp off dry with tart apple and ginger notes.


Riverhead Cider House  2711 Sound Avenue Calverton. New place that opened recently. On a slow superbowl Sunday they had a good crowd. Large room with entertainment and a deli. Large selection of local beer and cider.

Prickly Pear Rosé Cider: I asked for the driest cider and this is what they poured me, amber in color, cotton candy on the nose, off dry with cherry candy notes on the fruit.


Malbec On Long Island

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Malbec is one of the varietals allowed in the Bordeaux blend but not widely grown there today. It is however, the most important grape in Cahors in the south-western part of France and in Argentina where it usually makes for a beefier wine than in Cahors. Out on Long Island production is limited and a few wineries bottle it on its own. I drove out one Sunday afternoon to try some. These cool weather wines had more in common with Cahors than Argentina.


Lenz Winery 38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz is celebrating its 39th year which makes it ancient on the north fork. They are known for their Merlot but they bottle a Malbec as well.

2014 Malbec: Black with a purple rim, slate and black fruit on the nose, graphite and slate notes on the juicy fruit ending with dusty tannins.


Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

Family owned winery with an always crowded tasting room.

2016 Malbec: Dark purple with a purple rim, crushed stone and cooked fruit on the nose with mint notes starting to show as the wine opened in the glass, tight, sour cherry notes on the light finish.


Shinn Estate Vineyard 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Established in 2000 and whose motto is “heritage, history & heart”, they recently changed ownership.

2013 Malbec: About 38 cases produced, black in color, sweet berry, mint and dark violets on the nose, dark and concentrated fruit with tart blueberry notes.



Rosé On Long Island

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With the Summer season around the corner, it’s now time to drink some rosé. Most Long Island wineries produce a rosé which is usually one of their biggest sellers as it’s snapped up by thirsty locals. There are no GSM blends out East since the varietals of Grenache and Mourvedre are not grown as far as I know, and Syrah grown very little, the wines can’t be said to be made in the style of the wines of Provence or Languedoc wines of the South of France, but they do just fine with the grapes the have.

This past Sunday I travelled to the North Fork to try a few.


Bedell’s Tap Room at Corey Creek  45470 Route 25, Southold

This is the sister property to Bedell Vineyards, the comfortable tasting room was recently remodeled and opened a couple of weeks ago. They serve all their wines on tap except for one pét-nat Gewürztraminer.

2016 Rosé

An unspecified blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Medium pink with a slight fizz, bubblegum and honeydew melon on the nose and melon notes on the fruit. Moderate to low acids make for an easy drinking wine. The pét-nat was interesting.


Croteaux Vineyards  1450 South Harbor Road, Southold

They make rosé and only rosé and say they are the only vineyard in the United States to do so. They have a gorgeous tasting barn and garden in the back for a relaxing tasting.

2016 Rosé Merlot 181 “Sauvage”

One of several rosé they produce, fermented with wild, natural yeast in 100% stainless steel. Pale pink in color with damp earth and melon on the nose, melon on the fruit and the moderate to low acids make for another easy drinking wine.


Jamesport Vineyards   1216 Route 25, Jamesport

From one of the original wineries on the North Fork founded in 1981 with the winery and tasting room in a 165 year-old barn.

2015 Rosé “East End”

Made from 100% Syrah, darker in color than the previous two wines, red candy on the nose with chewy, peppery fruit ending with moderate acids.



Syrah On Long Island

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Syrah (Shiraz in Australia), is a varietal found to be indigenous to France. It’s used as a backbone grape for many big and bold wines from the Cote du Rhone and Australia as well as grown in other regions. I remember at one time it was thought it would be the next standout varietal in California but that never panned out and there was a lot of Cali Syrah being sold on those discount mail-order wine sites these past few years. Out East it’s not a big player but there are a few acres of it planted and on this Sunday afternoon I sampled a few. In the cooler growing season in this wine region, I wasn’t expecting big and bold wines.


2014 Pindar Vineyards Syrah  37645 Route 25, Peconic.

Pindar Vineyards which opened in the 1980’s is the largest vineyard on Long Island with over 500 acres with 17 varietals planted. It’s one of the more popular stops on the east end wine route and the tasting room was crowded even on this quiet, post holiday Sunday afternoon. It had been awhile since I stopped by this tasting room.

Black in color with roast meat and black licorice on the nose, medium body with sour black fruit and crisp acids. Felt a bit unfinished.



2014 Bedell Cellars Syrah  36225 Main Road, Cutchogue.

Winery with vines planted in the 1980’s and now owned by film executive Michael Lynne.

Dark red to black in color with a purple rim, roasted meat, dirt on the nose, tight, tart, concentrated dark fruit, neutral flavors with firm tannin at the end.



2014 Clovis Point Winery Syrah  1935 Main Road, Jamesport.

One of the newer wineries out east with 10 acres of farm land, named after pre-historic native arrow and spear points found on Long Island. One of the wineries that serve their wines in proper wine glasses.

Dark red with a purple rim, notes of asparagus and roast meat on the nose, concentrated and dusty ending with a mouth tightening tannin.



Chardonnay With Some Oak On Long Island

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This past Sunday afternoon I took a drive out to the  wineries on the North Fork of Long Island. It was a beautiful day with moderate temperatures and no humidity, the perfect day to be at a winery sitting on the deck with a glass of wine in hand while looking at a sea of vines with a blue sky above.

Chardonnays are the star of the whites out on the island and my focus this afternoon was to sample Chardonnay that had saw some oak treatment to it whether during fermentation or aging. .


2013 Laurel Lake Vineyards Chardonnay “Reserve” (North Fork)  3165 Main Road, Laurel, NY

Estate bottled and 100% fermented and aged in oak. Old school Chard, gold in color, honey-peach on the nose, spicy cinnamon and mouth filling buttery fruit, oak notes throughout the finish.


2014 Bedell Cellars Chardonnay (North Fork)   36225 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY

Barrel fermented and steel aged, yellow with greenish tints, lemon-lime custard on the nose, medium fruit with clean, tart lime notes on the finish.


2012 Lieb Cellars “No Label” Chardonnay (North Fork)  13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue, NY

Only available at the tasting room, partially barrel fermented, yellow with greenish tints, bubblegum and tropical fruits on the nose, mango notes followed by toast on the fruit with firm acids on the finish.




Cabernet Franc On Long Island

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Cabernet Franc is one of the varietals used in the classic Bordeaux blend and of Chinon in the Loire Valley. It’s a thinner skinned and earlier ripening relative of Cabernet Sauvignon. At one time on Long Island there was talk around that Cabernet Franc was going to be the varietal that was going to put the region on the map. It was said that the cooler, maritime conditions of the North Fork were perfect for the grape. Alas, it was not to be, Cabernet Franc was never able to dethrone Merlot as the primary grape in the region and wine makers have begun experimenting with other red varietals such as Syrah and Malbec. Cabernet Franc is still used in the Bordeaux blends that the North Fork wineries bottle and is still bottled on its own though some wineries aren’t growing it anymore or  bottling  it as a single varietal.


2013 Roanoke Vineyards Cabernet Franc (North Fork LI). Had this at their Love Lane tasting room since the winery tasting room is for members only. Dark red in color, opaque, slate,  and black cherry on the nose with stewed prune notes as the wine opened up in the glass, dense and chunky with black cherry fruit, nice balance.


2013 Clovis Point Vineyards Cabernet Franc (North Fork LI). Relatively new winery, began with land purchased in 2001. Dark red to black in color with a purple robe, crushed rocks and dried herbs on the nose with crushed black fruit, chewy with firm tannin on the juicy, dark chocolate finish.


2012 Palmer Vineyards Cabernet Franc “Proprietor’s Reserve” (North Fork LI). One of North Fork’s original wineries. Dark amber with a brick robe and cloudy, red licorice on the nose, juicy, red fruit with notes of sour cherry, tart with some green notes on the finish.



Sparkling Wines Of Long Island

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Everyone starts the New Year with a glass of sparkling wine so on my next trip to wine country out East I decided to sample some of the sparkling wines produced in the area. Many feel that the cool climate of the Long Island wine-producing region is conducive for making sparkling wines which benefit from the higher acidity. All of these wines were made in the méthode champenoise method.


Martha Clara Vineyards: 6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. Owned by the Entenmann family and anyone in the New York area who has ever satisfied a sweet tooth by picking up a box of cake or pastry from the local deli has had a product from the Entenmann family. One of those destination wineries with event spaces, art gallery and a petting zoo.

2005 Crémant Blanc. Estate fruit, 74% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Noir. Gold in color with some copper notes, closed nose, crisp with bread dough notes on the fruit, crisp, clean with fresh bread on the finish.


Shinn Estate Vineyards: 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck. Founded in 1998, the first East coast winery to be solely powered by alternative energy and they use “holistic” farming techniques. They also produce brandy and eau de vie.

2010 Brut Blanc de Blanc. 100% Chardonnay. Light yellow in color with a greenish tint with crisp, green apple notes on the fruit, some bread notes on the crisp finish.


Sparkling Pointe Winery: 39750 County Road 48, Southold. A new member of the wine community on the North Fork that produces only sparkling wine. The wine making facility was completed the Summer of 2010 and they have 40 acres planted solely to the classic Champagne varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The tasting room was big and airy with couches and artwork, more lounge than tasting room. All of the artwork this week had a Brazilian theme.

2012 Brut. 38% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir, 24% Reserve wines. Their flagship wine, light gold, clean with a hint of sweetness on the palate with a crisp and clean finish.