08/18/17 11:29am

Martha Clara Vineyards Pinot Grigio is our ‘Wine of the Week.’ (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Pinot Grigio, most of it anyway, is barely wine. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but most of the stuff you see on store shelves and on restaurant wine lists is rather insipid. I’d call it more of an easy-drinking inebriant than wine.

On the other hand, maybe it’s better than all of the barrel-bludgeoned chardonnay you’ll find at most bars and restaurants.

That isn’t the point here, though. The point is that most Pinot Grigio is boring and not something that I have use for in my day-to-day drinking rotation. (more…)

08/12/17 6:00am

A scene from the 2017 Harvest East End. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

I should preface my thoughts on this past weekend’s Harvest East End event, held at Martha Clara Vineyards, by mentioning that I don’t particularly enjoy these sorts of events. Six hundred-plus people, wine glasses in hand, moving from table to table tasting wine is a lot of fun, yes, but I greatly prefer tasting and drinking wine in a more intimate setting, one where consideration and conversation are more appropriate — and possible.

That said, it’s impossible for me to do anything but commend the organizers of this year’s event. Harvest East End has changed a lot over the years, and not always for the (more…)

08/10/17 11:09am

Sparkling Pointe 2014 Brut. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

After tasting through most of the Sparkling Pointe portfolio at last weekend’s Harvest East End event, I can say without reservation that the winery is really hitting its stride. The wines have really never been better — which helps explain why the winery was named co-winery of the year earlier this week at the New York Food & Wine Classic. (more…)

08/05/17 10:53am

A glass of Bedell Cellars gewürztraminer pét-nat, enjoyed on the deck of the Tap Room at Corey Creek. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Earlier this week I visited Bedell Cellars’ new Tap Room at Corey Creek for the first time. It’s a decidedly more casual, fun space, with all tastings poured from taps (rather than bottle) and growlers available for fill and take home. (more…)

07/29/17 6:00am

Martha Clara Vineyards 2016 sauvignon blanc was a standout for our Lenn Thompson during a recent tasting. (Credit: Madison Fender)

When visiting wineries on the East End, my wife and I have fallen into a bit of a rut. We go to Winery A first, then we go to Winery B and if our kids — now 5 and 10 — are behaving, we may squeeze in Winery C before taking them to Magic Fountain as a reward. Wineries A, B and C rarely (maybe never?) change. We know we’ll like the wines. We know that our kids are welcome. They are the safe bets and there is comfort in that.

(more…)

07/27/17 12:18pm

Martha Clara Vineyards Estate Reserve Riesling. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

When a lot of people think about New York riesling, they think about the Finger Lakes region in central New York, where it has earned a reputation for consistent quality. Some local wineries buy riesling juice from up there and make the wines here. Often, you’ll see “New York State” listed on those labels where you’d usually see “North Fork of Long Island” or “The Hamptons, Long Island.”

But that doesn’t mean that the Finger Lakes have a monopoly on delicious, food-friendly riesling in New York. (more…)

07/20/17 6:00am

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard 2014 Syrah. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Compared to other red grapes like merlot, cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc, you just don’t see a lot of syrah being grown on Long Island. And you don’t find many varietal Syrahs — that is wines made of at least 75 percent Syrah with that word printed on the label.

Maybe I’ll get into the reasons why in an upcoming column, but for now just know that there just aren’t that many. But, they always seem to stand out in my tastings. Maybe it’s just the novelty of them — they have entirely different flavor profiles than those other red grapes — but I almost always like them. Maybe not as much as I like Syrah from the Northern Rhone, but still, I feel like there is unrealized potential for this grape here on the North Fork.

Our “Wine of the Week,” Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard 2014 Syrah, hints at that potential. (more…)