02/24/17 6:07am
Long Island winery wine grapes harvest

A ripening vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

The first day in 1973 that my then-husband, Alex, and I arrived on the farm we’d bought in Cutchogue, on Long Island’s North Fork, to plant the region’s first vineyard, our neighbor Jeanie Zuhoski welcomed us on our long farm road bearing a home-baked pie. That was over 40 years ago. Since then, much has changed here. But the land and the community’s deep connection to it are still the same.

It made all the difference for us to be welcomed so warmly to the North Fork. We were young upstarts with plans for a crop no one else was growing. Inspired by our love of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, we wanted to plant vitis vinifera, the kind of grapes that all the world’s best wines are made from. If we couldn’t grow cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, we didn’t want to grow grapes at all. (more…)

02/22/17 10:49am
Channing Daughters Winery Rosso Pétillant Naturel. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Channing Daughters Winery Rosso Pétillant Naturel. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Pétillant naturel, or pét nat wines, are all the rage today and it’s easy to see why.

They tend to be more affordable than traditional, Champagne-style sparkling wines. They are often lower in alcohol. They are fun, fizzy and food-friendly too. They aren’t wines to consider and ponder for hours. You chill them well, you pop them open (they are usually closed under a beer-style crown cap) and you drink them. (more…)

02/09/17 6:00am
Long Island Wine

Macari Vineyards 2015 Horse Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

This weekend, Macari Vineyards will celebrate the release of our wine of the week: Macari Vineyards 2015 “Horses” Sparkling Cabernet Franc.

It’s the second release of one of a wine that quickly developed a rabid following last year. The 2013 edition was so popular with wine professionals and consumers alike that it sold out in months.

There is little doubt that it’s a unique, and uniquely delicious wine. Or that it was a bit of a surprise hit. One of the biggest in 2016, I think. (more…)

01/31/17 6:03am
Inside the tasting room at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. (Credit: David Benthal)

Inside the tasting room at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. (Credit: David Benthal)

Suellen Tunney’s instincts about her destiny were confirmed by a glass of rosé.

In 2007, the New Jersey native, then working as a restaurant manager, took a trip to Napa Valley that prompted an aha! moment.

During a stop on a wine tour, Tunney, now tasting room director at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, asked someone in the industry, “How in the world did you get this amazing job?” (more…)

01/30/17 6:01am
Raphael La Fontana. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

Raphael La Fontana. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

“My goal for this wine is more savory and tannin driven, but still light on its feet. The influence is from my love of Italian wines, in this case particularly Barolo.”

That’s how Raphael winemaker, Anthony Nappa, describes his approach to Raphael 2013 La Fontana, a blend of estate-grown merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot that was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. You won’t hear many local winemakers talk about Italy as their inspiration, but Nappa often does. It’s refreshing in a region still dominated with Bordeaux references and descriptions of why the wines aren’t like those in California. (more…)

01/28/17 6:02am
Palmer Vineyards 2015 Pinot Blanc.

Palmer Vineyards 2015 Pinot Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

I’ve been tasting and drinking wines from Palmer Vineyards for many years, but it wasn’t until I visited a couple of weeks ago and tasted through the entire lineup that I realized something: Above all else, this is a white wine house. And that’s OK. It’s great, in fact, because many of the white wines are great.

We all know that Long Island Wine Country is supposed to be about merlot. Or maybe merlot and chardonnay, the two most-planted grapes. They are the cornerstones of many wineries’ production and portfolios. (more…)