Thanksgiving is far and away my favorite holiday. Any holiday so centered on food and wine and family and friends is great in my book, but Thanksgiving also represents the beginning of the holiday season (which also includes my kids’ birthdays) and the wrapping up of the harvest season in wine country.
There was a time in this country’s history when hard apple cider was the drink of choice — not wine or beer. That has obviously changed since then, but cider has made a serious comeback in recent years.
A lot of the cider you find on shelves today isn’t very good. It is mass-produced, sweet and unbalanced, and meant more as a beer alternative than anything else. It’s packaged as such, too, available in six packs at just about any store that also sells beer. These ciders aren’t very interesting and you’ll probably never see them mentioned in these pages. (more…)
Bedell Cellars at sunset. (Credit: W Studios New York)
“What are Long Island’s best wineries?”
It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot lately. As much as the Vineyard 48 saga has tainted the image of Long Island wine, both locally and nationally — and I maintain that it did — it has a lot of people talking about Long Island wine. I’m getting a lot of emails and seeing a lot of chatter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too. Maybe that’s the silver lining of the whole Vineyard 48 debacle. (more…)
A bottle of Paumanok Vineyards Assemblage. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)
You’ll find a lot of “Bordeaux blends” on the North Fork. Most wineries produce them and if they don’t wear Meritage on the label, they often have other proprietary names. Like with any other category of wine from any region there are the good examples, mediocre examples and, yes, bad examples — although there are far fewer of those these days. (more…)
Mattebella Vineyards in Southold. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Some North Fork vineyards offer a festival-like atmosphere. Others are host to a more intimate and educational experience.
Although a vibrant, energetic crowd can be fun, you might want to skip the cornhole contests and The Rolling Stones cover bands in favor of a peaceful afternoon in Long Island Wine Country. For some, tiny tasting rooms are the salve offering tasters a chance to connect with the wine and winemakers in ways that are impossible at larger venues.
Every week I get at least a handful of emails — some from friends, some from friends of friends and some from complete strangers — asking for suggestions on wineries to should visit or what local wines they should buy. (more…)