09/22/17 6:01am
Petillant Naturel Albariño

Jamesport Vineyards Petillant Naturel Albariño. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Jamesport Vineyards has added a trio of unusual, easy-drinking sparklers to its portfolio.

Look for a pink grapefruit-colored syrah, an amber cabernet franc and a straw yellow albariño (the northforker favorite) made in the pétillant naturel style in the tasting room this fall.

Pétillant naturel — which is also called méthode ancestral — is, as its name suggests, an ancient way of making sparkling wine.

Pétillant Naturel wines are bottled before primary fermentation — the fermentation that converts the grapes’ sugars into alcohol — is complete, capturing the carbon dioxide inside. The lees are typically left inside the bottle resulting in a cloudy sediment and they tend to be lower in alcohol than most wines.

It’s also a less expensive way to get sparkling wines to market as the turaround from harvest to glass is much quicker than the more commonly used méthode champenoise.


To make the Jamesport wines, “the fruit has to be absolutely spotless” said Jamesport winemaker Dean Babiar. That means no rot or fungus. When they are ready, the grapes are picked and pressed extra gently.

“I pressed it so slowly that it took me like a day to do one press cycle,” Babiar said.

The clearest pressed juice is then fermented in stainless steel for about a month, he said. The wine is bottled under crown cap before the primary fermentation process is completed, when there is still some residual sugar in the juice.

Making pétillant naturel bottles can be an inconsistent process, in part, because the decision of when to bottle is largely guided by intuition. And still fermenting bottles means taste can change from month to month.

But Babiar said he is happy with the result.

“They are light drinkable wines that quench your thirst,” Babiar said

Each bottle offers its own favorable qualities but for us the tart and fizzy albariño, an aromatic Spanish variety grown at only a handful of North Fork vineyards, was the standout.

The new labels, which instead of images or logo display adjectives describing the wine, were designed by Jamesport Vineyards chef Dan Edgett.

The wines are $29.95 each or $75 for all three. Only 100 cases of each were made, so get them before they sell out.

09/22/17 6:00am

A scene from the 2015 East End Maritime Festival. (Credit: Jeremy Garretson)

The East End Maritime Festival comes to Greenport Village this weekend, with music, entertainment, kayak races, fair vendors, lighthouse tours and more.

The three-day event, hosted by East End Seaport Museum, kicks off with the Land & Sea gala on Friday night (click here for tickets). The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24.

Visit eastendseaport.org for more information.

A schedule of events is as follows: (more…)

09/21/17 11:49am

Castello di Borghese Chardonette. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

While local wineries are making better sub-$25 wine that ever before, wines that retail for less than $15 are still mostly pretty underwhelming. Generally, they aren’t worth bothering with. And that’s a big reason why this week’s’ “Wine of the Week” Castello di Borghese NV Chardonette caught my attention. (more…)

09/20/17 6:04am
The East End Maritime Festival runs this weekend, Sept. 23, 24 and 25. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

The East End Maritime Festival runs this weekend, Sept. 22, 23 and 24. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Some might argue that harvest is the best time on the East End.

With plenty of fall festivals, pumpkin picking, corn mazes and more, it certainly is often the busiest season.

Here are 9 festivals and events for fun on the North Fork this autumn. (more…)

09/20/17 6:01am

A “spontaneous create” on display at The Ranch antique shop in Aquebogue. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)

Over the summer, curious creatures have popped up on the North Fork, seemingly overnight, in front of businesses and a few homes. Some of the colorful, often spotted, figures appear alone, while others stand in groups like visitors from another world.

Since about 2011, they’ve been fixtures on the South Fork, spotted on telephone poles by passersby, and they are now catching eyes along Main Road.

They are the work of Michael Zotos, 59, of Holtsville, who says there are currently 33 pieces across the East End. (more…)