10/02/17 6:01am

Charolais cattle at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue. (Credit: Connor Harrigan/McCall courtesy photo)

The white Charolais cows that roam McCall Ranch’s 40 acres are unlike traditional American cows. They are leaner, devoid of spots and stark white. According to the men and women who work with them, the cows nuzzle up against people, the way dogs do. (more…)

09/29/17 6:01am

Rex Farr at his Calverton farm on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

It’s a mid-August morning at The Farrm in Calverton, which means the cows and burros must be fed and the tomatoes and peppers inspected for ripeness. But it’s also a fruit day, according to the biodynamic calendar, which means the not-yet-ripe grapes are about to get some attention.

So first, farmer Rex Farr has to create a vortex. (more…)

09/28/17 5:59am

A bottle of Bedell Cellars merlot. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Narrowing down the nearly two cases of merlot tasted for this story into a Long Island merlot “six-pack” was incredibly difficult. Nearly every wine was worthy of inclusion.

Ultimately, these choices cover a wide range of what is available, mixing some more-affordable options in with some of the region’s best. (more…)

09/28/17 5:57am
merlot

Vineyard workers at Lenz Winery harvest merlot grapes in 2016. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

Look out the window the next time you find yourself on the East End. If you see grapevines, there’s a fair chance they are merlot, which makes up nearly 30 percent of the total grape plantings on Long Island. Roughly 700 acres of local vineyards are dedicated to merlot, making it the most-planted red grape variety. Its dominance is on full display in local tasting rooms, too, where you’ll find merlot bottled by itself, as well as in many red blends, rosés — and a few wineries even use it in sparkling wine production.

The importance of merlot to the local wine industry simply cannot be overstated. It is a workhorse for the region while also leading to some of its most lauded and adored wines. (more…)

09/27/17 6:00am

You choose your winery visits for the wines, right? Of course, you do. But let’s not forget the aesthetic allure of the vineyards/tasting rooms. Our camera rolls express our visual identities these days, and if you’re the type who never misses a chance to create social media envy among your followers, here’s a cheat sheet to the vineyards and tasting rooms with the biggest Instagram followings. Come for the signature wines, but stay for the signature visuals. Then make sure to check in, snap, filter, hashtag and gram away and share those visual moments in pixels. (more…)

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…)