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.



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.

Dan’s Harvest East End

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This past Saturday I made another trip out East to attend the Dan’s Harvest East End taste of Summer wine and food classic. The last of the trio of food and wine festivals hosted by Dan’s Paper. While the other two festivals were held on the South Fork of Long Island, this one was held on the North Fork where the majority of the wineries out East are located. It was held under the big tents on the property of McCall Winery at 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue.

Co-hosted by Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian, it featured food from local restaurants and purveyors and wine from the local wineries. It followed the same formula as the other festivals, big tents with the food stands on the perimeter, wines in the center, and the outlier beer and spirits booths scattered around.

It was another beautiful Summer evening tasting good food and wine with a crowd that was having fun. My drink of choice for the evening was Sparkling Point NV Brut and the 2006 Sparkling Point Brut Seduction.

Some of what I sampled:


The Frisky Oyster: Cornell Oysters Friskafella (My favorite of the night)

Smitty’s at American Grill: Homemade Meatball Sliders

First & South: Green Gazpacho

SCGP Café: Cauliflower Beignet

The Ram’s Head Inn: Spice Crusted Tuna with Grilled Local Corn

Jedediah Hawkin’s Inn: Lobster Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

Petulant Wino: Summer Corn Gazpacho

A Mano Osteria: Local Corn Ravioli

Perabell Food Bar East: Sriracha Hoisan Glazed Duck Steamed Bun

Mirabelle: Long Island Striped Bass, Shrimp and Local Watermelon Ceviche



Dan’s Taste Of Two Forks

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This past Saturday I attended the Dan’s Taste of Two Forks food festival. Dan’s Paper is a magazine that covers all thing Hampton’s. They co-sponsor several foodie events during the Summer and this was one of them.

The Taste of Two Forks was held under the big tents at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island and was co-hosted by Michael Symon of ABC’s The Chew and Katie Lee of Food Network’s The Kitchen.

With food from over 40 North and South Fork restaurants, wines from the North and South Fork wineries, cocktails from Tito’s vodka, Hendrick’s gin and Casamigos tequila and a tiki bar with brewskis from Blue Moon and Corona, it was a fun evening in the Hampton’s.

I stuck with white wines, rosé and the occasional margarita, the wines I sipped on :

2014 Jamesport Vineyards Rosé

2014 Macari Vineyards Rosé (3 Liter bottle)

2014 Bedell Cellars Rosé

2014 Pelligrino Vineyards Gewürztraminer

2014 One Women Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Lenz Winery Tete a Tete White Blend

Some of the nibbles I sampled:

Buoy One Seafood: Fresh Blue Crab Claw with roasted corn and black bean salad.

Nammos: Grilled octopus with tomato and olive salad.

Shuckers Lobster & Clam Bar: Dirty Lobster.

Smoking Wolf BBQ; BBQ pulled pork sliders.

South Hampton Social Club: Tuna Tacos

Bistro 72: Duck confit with soft herb cheese.

Moby’s:  Montauk Calimari with tomato, olives and Calabrian chili.

75 Main: Jerk spiced Long Island duck tacos.

Highway Restaurant & Bar: Lobster roll with lemon and tarragon.

Noah’s On the Road: BLT

Grana Tratoria Anitica: Fregola Sarda Pasta with Sardinian botarga.

668 The Gigshack: Ritz cracker crusted crab cake.

Fresh Hampton’s: Tuscan style seafood salad.

Ram’s Head Inn: Applewood smoked Crescent Farms duck breast.

Canal Café: Local Fluke ceviche.

Southold Farm + Cellars Long Island

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This Sunday afternoon I took a road trip to the North Fork wine country on Long Island. I had read an article about the North Fork wine country in Wine Enthusiast magazine country and they mentioned a winery, Southold Farm + Cellars that was “pushing the envelope”, from it’s “cutting edge labels” to the release of a carbonic wine. The winery is located on the southern edge of the North Fork at 860 Old North Road in Southold.

This was intriguing since I’m always on the lookout for something new in wine country and this winery had been off the radar until I read about in the magazine. I also remember reading an article that said the winery bottled a Chardonnay Pét-Nats, short for Pettilant Natural which is the old style of making sparkling wine where the wine is bottled before finishing primary fermentation and allowed to continue fermenting in the bottle resulting in a slight fizz. I have never drank one of those wines that was produced in Long Island.

Southold Farm + Cellars is a family owned farm and winery that has 9 acres of vines planted with unusual for Long Island, Italian varietals such as Toroldego and Lagrein. The tasting room was on the East end of the North Fork, off the beaten path which is how owner and winemaker, Regan Meador wants it to be. Unfortunately, they were out of the Pettilant wine but these four wines are what are being served in the tasting room at this time. Production is tiny with less than 200 cases produced of each of the wines.

2014 “Artful Dodger” Sauvignon Blanc. Creamy with some grassiness and a nice balance.

2013 “The Devil’s Advocate” Old Vine Chardonnay. Deep gold and slightly cloudy with a nose of honey and dried mushrooms, thick and chewy with nice balance.

2014 “Flying & Falling” Cabernet Franc. Whole cluster Carbonic Maceration with organic fruit, dark purple with a big nose of cooked berries, juicy with earth and slate minerals on the fruit. Low acid. I thought it would be nice with a slight chill on it.

2014 “Counting Stars” Sparkling Petit Verdot. Inky, dark purple and lightly sparkling with slate and wet stone on the nose, rustic, dry and refreshing, reminded me of a nice dry Lambrusco. I bought a couple of bottles to sip on during this Summer.

Merlot At Lenz

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This past Saturday, September 13  I attended the 25th annual Merlot World Classic which was held at the Lenz Winery in Peconic on the north fork of Long Island. Lenz is the second oldest winery on Long Island and have some of the oldest Merlot vines in the area. They make some nice sparkling wines as well. The event gathered together Merlot from the United States, France,  Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile though most of the wines were from California and France. Of course, Long Island wines were represented as well.

It was a consumer event held outdoors at the winery. It was a rainy evening but things were kept dry under the tents.


2011 Markham Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium to dark red in color with crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy and silky and nicely balanced. Very drinkable.

2011 Freemark Abbey Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with smoky oak on the nose with tight black fruit with notes of pencil shavings on the finish.

2010 Plumpjack Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with an amber robe, toasty black fruit on the nose and was chewy with black licorice on the firm and balanced finish.

2009 Cakebread Cellars Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with some vegetal notes on the nose with silky fruit upfront that droped a bit at the end.

2009 Shafer Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with toasty black cherry on the nose with bright black fruit and crisp acids.

2008 Grgich Hills Estate Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with a pretty floral nose of red roses, and was tight and silky with graphite notes on the finish.

2007 Twomey Cellars Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium red with some cooked vegetal notes on the nose, chunky and dusty with graphite notes on the mouth-puckering finish. Some heat.


2009 Chateau de Sales (Pomerol). Dark red with some damp earth on the nose and was silky and chewy with mint on the finish.

2009 Chateau Nenin (Pomerol). Dark red with a ripe, floral nose and was tight and silky with a firm long finish.

2009 Chateau de Pez (St. Estephe). Medium red with a stinky floral nose and was rustic and chewy with mouth-watering tannin at the end.

2008 La Domaine de Montrose (St. Estephe). Dark red to black with pretty dusty crushed dark berries on the nose and was concentrated and silky with mouth filling tannin and dark chocolate at the finish. Very nice.

2004 Chateau Haut-Simard (St. Emillion). Medium red with an amber robe with stinky black cherry on the nose and was tight with some bitter cherry on the medium to long finish.

Long Island

2010 Lenz Merlot “Estate Selection” (North Fork). Medium red with red cherry on the nose and was tight and bright.

2007 Lenz Merlot “Old Vines” (North Fork). Medium red with dark roasted meat on the nose with tight fruit and some cooked fruit notes on the moderate to long finish.

2011 Wölffer Estate Merlot “Lambardo” (South Fork). Medium red with dusty, roasted coffee on the nose with toasty fruit.

2010 Wölffer Estate Merlot “Christian’s Cuvée” (South Fork). At a $100 a bottle, the most expensive bottle at the tasting. Dark red with toasty roast meat on the nose and was chewy with dark chocolate on the finish.



Harvest East End

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On Saturday evening I attended the fifth annual Harvest East End food and wine event with 40 wineries and 30 East End chefs pairing local grapes with local flavors featuring locally sourced (lots of corn and tomatoes) seasonal dishes.  The event was organized by Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council to raise money for charities such as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation and the Peconic Land Trust. It was hosted by Sommelier Josh Wesson and honored New York Times dining columnist, Florence Fabricant. Macari Vineyards was presented with the Governor’s Cup “Winery of the Year” award.

The event took place at the McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on the North Fork. It is not only a working winery but a farm using organic and natural practices to raise grass-fed Charolais, an historic breed of cattle from France and central Europe. In fact, there was a herd of them grazing next to the Pinot Noir vines at the event. It was a beautiful evening and a good time was had by all.

All the wines served were from Long Island

Sparking Point NV “Topaz Imperial”. My starter wine, sparkling, pink salmon in color with a persistent foam, dry and crisp with hints of strawberry and apple.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Anomoly”. Rosè from 100% Pinot Noir, pale pink with a pretty floral nose with tart, mouth-watering acids on the finish.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Sciardonne”. 100% Chardonnay made with wild yeast, light gold in color with white flowers on the nose, floral earth on the fruit with crisp acidity. Reminded me of a nice Chablis.

2013 Channing Daughters Pinot Grigio “Ramato”. 100% Pinot Grigio, the most interesting wine of the night, an orange wine, orange-salmon in color with orange notes on the fruit with nice balance.

2013 Palmer Vineyards Pinot Blanc. Light yellow with damp earth on the nose with crisp, green apple fruit, ends with some butterines.

2010 Harmony Vineyards “Harmonious Red Blend” First time I’ve seen this winery, in Stony Brook much closer to the city border than the rest of the wineries out East, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose and was ripe and juicy with crushed red berries and mint on the crisp finish.

2010 Macari Vineyards Cabernet Franc. From a magnum, the award-winning wine of the year, medium red with an amber robe with slate and tobacco on the nose and was concentrated and silky with meaty and smoky notes on the long finish with nice balance.

2010 Jamesport Vineyards Cabernet Franc “MTK”. Medium to dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose, concentrated and silky with notes of dried herbs on the finish. Some heat at the end but manageable.

2009 Water’s Crest “Campania Rosso”. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, medium red with an amber robe with dried herbs and crushed stone on the nose, tight fruit and a firm finish.

2010 Channing Daughters Blaufränkisch “Mudd West Vineyard”. Medium red with a stinky nose with ripe and stinky fruit.

2010 Osprey’s Dominion Cabernet Franc. Black in color, pencil shavings and bell pepper on the nose, concentrated and chewy with black licorice on the fruit with good balance.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards “Prime Number”.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, black in color with ripe vegetal notes on the nose with very toasty and smoky fruit.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards Gabby’s Cabernet Franc. Black with an amber robe, cooked fruit on the nose with notes of mineral and crushed rocks on the sweet fruit.



Long Island Wine Expo

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On Saturday late afternoon I attended the Long Island Wine Expo. The expo was held at the Cradle of Aviation museum in Garden City Long Island. The museum commemorates Long Island’s part in the early history of aviation. It seems that part of Long Island was conducive to flying since the geography was flat and tree-less. In fact, Charles Lindbergh took off on his famous flight to Paris about a mile from the museum where the Roosevelt Field Mall is located now. The museum itself is pretty cool, covering the history of aviation from the first flying machines to the space age. I liked the World War II fighter aircraft as well as Lunar landing that was scheduled to land on the surface of the moon.

The Expo itself wasn’t as exciting as the museum. Billed as “the largest wine event on long island”, I don’t feel it was all it could have been, long lines and for the most part, forgettable wines. The crowd did seem to be having a good time though.

Some of what I enjoyed:

2005 Sparking Point “Brut Seduction” (North Fork). Sparking wine from a producer that only produces sparking wine. Nose of lime and melon and nicely crisp with citrus notes on the finish.

2012 Cambria Pinot Noir “Julia’s Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with dark berries on the nose and was juicy with coffee notes on the finish.

2011 Ferrero Roso di Montalcino (Piedmont). Dark amber with dark cherry notes and was silky with some sour cherry on the finish.

2012 Salentein Reserve Malbec (Mendoza). Dark red with a concentrated nose of dark plums and sweet spices and was juicy and dusty with some mint notes on the finish.

2008 Faustino “V” Reserve (Rioja). Dark red to black with an old world nose of dried leaf and cigar box, tight with sweet cherry fruit and sour cherry on the finish.

2009 Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon  Reserva (Maipo Valley). Dark red with an amber robe with bell pepper on the nose and was concentrated and juicy with black licorice notes with a firm grip.

Le Deux Chateau poured a couple of their wines, the 2012 Pinot Noir and the 2012 Chardonnay. I was told that the grapes are French but were bottled on the North Fork of Long Island. The wines are available in bottles but my samples were poured from kegs. Both the wines were inexpensive with not much character to them but were easy drinking, which is what I suppose you would want in a budget glass of wine.