05/20/17 6:11am

A bottle of McCall Wines 2016 Cuvée Nicola. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

McCall Wines earned its reputation among local wine lovers on the back of its pinot noir program, which stands as the best on the East End. No other pinot noir comes close.

A peek behind the pinot portion of the portfolio reveals quality across the board. McCall’s cabernet franc and merlot are also often outstanding as well. The rosé, too. But the hidden gem of the lineup is on the white wine side — sauvignon blanc.

Starting in 2015, the McCall sauvignon blanc has been made entirely with estate-grown fruit (rather than purchased grapes from elsewhere on the North Fork). Grown in McCall’s North Ridge Vineyard — a vineyard formerly known as Andy’s Field when it was part of the Gristina property — our Wine of the Week is McCall Wines 2016 “Cuvée Nicola” Sauvignon Blanc ($24). (more…)

05/13/17 6:00am
A bottle of Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Paumanok Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

This week’s cool weather aside, it’s spring. We’re not that far from summer, in fact. I know that I — along with the new patch of grass that I’m trying to grown in my back yard — could use a bit more sunshine in my life.

Enter Long Island sauvignon blanc. Bright, citrusy and refreshing it’s one of the go-to wines at my house every summer. Look for my feature story in the summer issue of the Long Island Wine Press for a full run-down on the grape, why it’s so well-suited to Long Island and the various styles being made here.

In the meantime, this week’s “Wine of the Week” is Paumanok Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($24) which deftly exemplifies what Long Island sauvignon blanc is and can be. (more…)

05/05/17 6:01am
A bottle of Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard Petite Verdot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard Petite Verdot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Petit verdot is a grape that you’ve probably tasted before, though perhaps without realizing it.

A red grape used in classic Bordeaux blends, it’s grown in many vineyards on the North Fork, though not in large quantities. It’s a late ripener and often among the last grapes picked every harvest. On Long Island, it’s mostly used to add color, tannin and acidity other red wines. It can really help with mid-palate weight and concentration, making wines taste more complete.

And once you recognize its telltale structure and flavors, you can pick it out even in small amounts in a blend. (more…)

05/02/17 5:58am

Bottles of Channing Daughters VerVino. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Bottles of Channing Daughters VerVino. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

For most Americans, vermouth tends to be binary — either red and sweet or white and dry. It’s the stuff on the bottom shelf at the liquor store that’s usually cheap and only useful for martinis and Manhattans. That’s a bit like thinking that all there is to wine is $7 merlot and chardonnay.

It’s just not true  — and if you feel that way, you’re really missing out. (more…)

04/28/17 6:02am
A bottle of Roanoke VIneyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Roanoke VIneyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

If you quickly glance at this week’s “Wine of the Week,” Roanoke Vineyards 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc, you might think it a white wine — it’s that light in its copper tint.

On that color, Roanoke Vineyards’ Scott Sandell told me in an email, “Visuals are important, but we didn’t shape this wine around them. It’s not dyed or otherwise altered for good looks. We don’t go there with any of the wines, and this one is just lighter in color; not a lot of skin contact: styled for taste over color.”

He’s right. It’s light on color but not on flavor. (more…)

04/25/17 6:01am
Madiran The Wine Bar

Jacqueline Malenda inside Madiran The Wine Bar. (Credit: David Benthal)

It’s rare that a sixth-grade science fair project predicts one’s career, but that was the case for Jacqueline Malenda, proprietor of Madiran the Wine Bar in East Setauket. While her classmates were growing sugar crystals and measuring electrical currents, Malenda made wine with grapes from the supermarket.

With her parents’ help, she made that single bottle of 8 percent alcohol-by-volume wine using household items like a potato masher, cheesecloth, pitchers and a funnel.

“After making a presentation at the science fair, I came home with the blue ribbon. And the faculty drank my bottle!” (more…)