08/12/17 6:00am

A scene from the 2017 Harvest East End. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

I should preface my thoughts on this past weekend’s Harvest East End event, held at Martha Clara Vineyards, by mentioning that I don’t particularly enjoy these sorts of events. Six hundred-plus people, wine glasses in hand, moving from table to table tasting wine is a lot of fun, yes, but I greatly prefer tasting and drinking wine in a more intimate setting, one where consideration and conversation are more appropriate — and possible.

That said, it’s impossible for me to do anything but commend the organizers of this year’s event. Harvest East End has changed a lot over the years, and not always for the (more…)

07/29/17 6:00am

Martha Clara Vineyards 2016 sauvignon blanc was a standout for our Lenn Thompson during a recent tasting. (Credit: Madison Fender)

When visiting wineries on the East End, my wife and I have fallen into a bit of a rut. We go to Winery A first, then we go to Winery B and if our kids — now 5 and 10 — are behaving, we may squeeze in Winery C before taking them to Magic Fountain as a reward. Wineries A, B and C rarely (maybe never?) change. We know we’ll like the wines. We know that our kids are welcome. They are the safe bets and there is comfort in that.

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07/15/17 6:00am
vineyard grapes

The vines at Paumanok Vineyards on Thursday, July 13, 2017. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

We’re two-plus months into the 2017 grape-growing season, a time when I always like to check in with local growers and winemakers to find out how the season is going, how it compares to other seasons and how close to “normal” it’s been so far.

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07/01/17 5:26am
Sherwood House Vineyards

Alex Rosanelli inside the Sherwood House Vineyards tasting room. (Credit: Monique Sigh-Roy)

Chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. That’s what Alex Rosanelli, managing partner of Sherwood House Vineyards and Hound’s Tree Wines, where he also makes the wines, has growing in the vineyard shared by both labels. It’s a fairly standard set of grapes for any North Fork vineyard, although many have some sauvignon blanc, too.

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06/17/17 6:01am

A bottle of Macari Vineyards 2013 Reserve Cabernet Franc. Our Lenn Thompson recommends it for Father’s Day. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

With Father’s Day coming this weekend, I’ve been bombarded with pitches from PR hacks about wines and wine pairings that are “perfect” for Father’s Day. Ignoring for a second the myth of the “perfect pairing,” most seem to center on cabernet sauvignon and the steaks that every father will apparently be enjoying on Sunday. (These same pitches sometimes get reused for July 4 and then Labor Day, by the way).

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06/03/17 6:02am

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

I spent a few days in Charlottesville, Va., last week taking part in the Virginia Wine Summit, a celebration of the Commonwealth’s wine and wine culture. I was invited to speak on a panel titled “Defining Local on the East Coast,” a vague and somewhat nebulous topic that I’m not sure we really tackled during the session, but I digress.

The summit itself was only one day but, as a speaker I was able to join my fellow panelists — mostly sommeliers and restaurateurs from up and down the Eastern Seaboard — on a tour of some local vineyards and for some walk-around tastings of other Virginia producers.

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04/22/17 6:04am
The craft beer scene in Pittsburgh has greatly improved over the years, so says our Lenn Thompson. (Credit: Northforker file photo)

The craft beer scene in Pittsburgh has greatly improved over the years, so says our Lenn Thompson. (Credit: Northforker file photo)

I was born, raised and educated in western Pennsylvania. It’s changed a lot since I moved away in 2000, but despite the high-tech and medical industries there, it still has a decidedly traditional and blue-collar feel. Hearty food. Plentiful drink. We put french fries on top of salads and on top of our sandwiches back home. Yes, french fries as topping or condiment!

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