Wines he’ll sip at Harvest East End: Uncork the Forks

Dan's Harvest East End will once again be held at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)

Dan’s Harvest East End will once again be held at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)

This Saturday evening, Aug. 20, at 7:30 (or 6:30 if you splurge for the VIP ticket), McCall Wines in Cutchogue will host Dan’s Harvest East End, organized by Dan’s Papers and Long Island Wine Council. Part of the proceeds will benefit Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare, two worthy causes.

These types of events are a lot of fun. There’s a lot of wine, a lot of food and it’s always good to see so many of the “Who’s Who” in the local culinary and wine world. But as someone who tends to eschew large crowds, who also likes to taste wine in a slightly more controlled setting, they aren’t my favorite things in the world. With so many food vendors and revelers doused in perfume and cologne, it’s difficult for me to taste the wines as well as I’d like. Some writers are far better at it than I am, admittedly.

Still, if you’re not afflicted with an incessant desire to take tasting notes and focus on each wine one at a time the way I am, Harvest East End promises to be great fun. And, it’s a great way to taste wines from several Long Island wineries in one place, which is one reason I’m looking forward to being there.

Plus, Food Network stalwart Geoffrey Zakarian is hosting the event and Joshua Wesson — one of the first so-called star sommeliers — will emcee.

My plan is to arrive when the doors open, before the crowds get too crazy, and to focus on wines I haven’t had recently. I’ll also navigate around the shellfish to enjoy nibbles from local places like North Fork Table, A Lure, Caci, First and South and many more.

But for me, the focus will be the wines. Here’s what I’m most looking forward to catching up on — just remember that this isn’t a complete list of which producers will be there and what they are pouring.

I don’t get to Brooklyn much and I don’t see the wines much out this way, so I’m looking forward to tasting all of what Brooklyn Oenology brings, including winemaker Alie Shaper’s cabernet franc, pinot gris and red blends.

I’ve been hearing great things about Adam Suprenant’s new Coffee Pot Cellars Cyser — a sparkling hard cider sweetened with honey. Hopefully I’ll get to taste it Saturday, along with Suprenant’s current sauvignon blanc release.

You don’t see too many blends of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, albariño and riesling, so Jamesport Vineyards’ 2015 Cinq Blanc is something I’m curious to try.

Onabay Vineyards is another winery whose wines I don’t get to taste very often, simply because I don’t know where I can taste them. I loved the first vintage of their cabernet franc-malbec blend they call Cot Fermented. I’m looking forward to trying the 2014 edition.

Palmer Vineyards isn’t bringing its albariño, which is a bummer, but they’ll have 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and 2015 Rose of Merlot, two wines I just haven’t gotten to sample yet.

During my explorations of northern viticulture — in places like Quebec, Vermont and extreme upstate New York — I’ve developed a bit of a crush on a grape called Marquette. Here on Long Island, Scarola Vineyards grows a bit of it and makes a dessert wine from it. I look forward to trying that.

Finally, catching up with Sparkling Pointe is long overdue and Dan’s Harvest East End is going to give me the chance to do just that. Winemaker Gilles Martin is making some of the East Coast’s best sparkling wine and it looks like they are going to have three or four wines at the event. I look forward to trying them all.

Visit danstasteofsummer.com/harvest-east-end for a complete list of the wineries and restaurants participating and to buy your tickets, which are $135. For $199 you can get in at 6:30 p.m., before the crowds get nutty, or splurge for the VIP package for $285, which includes special parking, early admission, a VIP gift bag and exclusive access to the VIP lounge.

Lenn Thompson