11/18/17 6:54am

Ever want to try one of those wine-pairing dinners local wineries and restaurants occasionally host?

We recently accepted an invitation to attend a dinner hosted at Cowfish Restaurant in Hampton Bays Thursday, featuring wine from Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead.

For $85, guests enjoyed a four-course meal plus dessert.

One of the highlights of the evening for Palmer winemaker Miguel Martin was showcasing the winery’s newly released Old Roots Red Blend 2014. He said they had the official release of the wine on Sunday, Nov. 12 and the pairing dinner was the first time he was able to share it with a large group of people.

“This is what I make the wines for,” Mr. Martin said, “for the people to enjoy and to get feedback.”

The winery participates in several pairing dinners a year. Cowfish, which also hosts a few each year, said Palmer is usually its most popular offering.

09/26/17 6:05am
Stone Creek Inn

Gabrielle Walsh of Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue. (Credit: David Benthal)

Gabrielle Walsh has made a career in food and wine, although she admits her introduction to the latter was memorable only for how bad it was.

As a child in Mississippi, she would watch cooking shows on public television and recalls seeing Julia Child use wine in one of her dishes. On a subsequent shopping trip, she convinced her mom to buy wine for a meal so she could imitate the author of “The French Chef.”

Looking back, it probably wasn’t the type of bottle Child would keep on hand to make her famed boeuf bourguignon.

“It was one of those cheap cooking wines you find in a supermarket,” she said with a chuckle. “I thought, ‘This is disgusting.’ That bottle is probably still sitting in my parents’ pantry.”

Now the general manager and wine director at Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue, Walsh has certainly discovered that there’s much more to wine than grocery store plonk. (more…)

08/31/17 6:01am

The Shipwrecks in Riverhead. (Credit: Rod Richardson)

If crowds and the blazing sun isn’t your bag, you might find the fall the best time for a beach stroll. An early autumn breeze and Indian summer make this time of year the best for searching for seashells, beach glass and other gifts from the sea. You’ll also find that parking is easier as some town beaches don’t require a permit after Labor Day. If you go, here are some pointers.  READ

07/10/17 12:27pm

Local marine biologist and northforker outdoors columnist Chris Paparo spotted two notable sights just south of Dune Road last week — a pod of about 100 bottlenose dolphins slapping their tails against the water and a humpback whale leaping in the air.

Paparo saw the animals on Wednesday, July 5 and again on Thursday, July 6 in the water about a half mile south of Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays. (more…)

07/08/17 6:18am

Chimene MacNaughton of Wainscott Main Wine and Spirits inside her shop. (Credit: Craig McNaughton)

Chimene MacNaughton, general manager of Wainscott Main Wine & Spirits in Wainscott, was born in Pasadena and educated in California public schools. She eventually went to UCLA and then jumped right into what she thought would be a career in retail management.

While still in her early 20s, MacNaughton “peeled out of women’s ready-to-wear and luxury accessories” and entered the San Francisco fine-dining scene. She’s been in hospitality ever since.

Despite her admitted West Coast wine bias, she has embraced Long Island wine from the beginning and continues to do so today. She has lived on the East End full time since 2005 and helped open Wainscott Main Wine & Spirits in early 2014. (more…)

06/01/17 11:30am

A bottle of Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

It’s almost summer (I’m choosing to ignore the weather we’ve been enduring lately) and with the change of seasons comes a change in drinking habits — as well as venues — for many.

When you’re looking for wine to enjoy by the pool, on the boat or at the beach, you’re not looking for extreme complexity and nuance. You want fresh. You want clean. You want thirst-quenching. And it’s a bonus if the wine is sealed under a screwcap, because you know you’re not going to remember to pack the corkscrew. (more…)

05/25/17 5:14am

Channing Daughters Winery 2016 Tocai Fruilano Pétillant Naturel. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

As Channing Daughters Winery’s winemaker Christopher Tracy is prone to doing, he has embraced the fresh, fun deliciousness of pétillant naturel wines with gusto in recent years.

The man who is making a half dozen different vermouths and recently released seven different roses from the 2016 vintage has taken a ‘pet nat’ program that started with just three wines — white, rose and red — and blown it out to more than a handful of wines of various colors made from a wide array of grapes.

This week’s “Wine of the Week,” Channing Daughters Winery 2016 Tocai Friulano Petillant Naturel ($28), is one of the newer additions and one of the most distinctive. (more…)