04/20/17 10:10am
A bottle of Palmer VIneyards Albariño. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Palmer Vineyards Albariño. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

It can be easy to forget that the Long Island wine industry was founded in 1973, not that long ago as far as wine regions go. For comparison, Pliny the Elder recorded the first evidence of vines in Bordeaux in 71 AD.

Long Island has done well for itself in its first 40 plus years, but when you look at the region with a global perspective, it’s still a toddler. Maybe even a baby.

Several grapes have come and gone over the course of Long Island wine country’s history — zinfandel was even tried early on — and a handful of grapes have emerged as those showing great promise here. Those include merlot, chardonnay, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc. (more…)

04/12/17 6:01am
Palmer Vineyards 2016 Rosé. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Palmer Vineyards 2016 Rosé. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Local rosé made entirely from merlot is rarely interesting or, frankly, anything more than mediocre. It tends to be very one-dimensional and lack freshness. Some might even call it boring. Okay, I’d call it that too.

Except when it’s not. (more…)

04/05/17 10:13am
A bottle of Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

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

Chardonnay is still the most-planted white grape on Long Island, but few think that it’s the white grape that best captures the essence of the region’s terroir. For most, including me, that grape is sauvignon blanc.

Wölffer Estate’s Roman Roth hasn’t been making sauvignon blanc as long as some local winemakers, but his wines are always fine examples — fresh, clean and seafood-ready. Our wine of the week, Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($22) is no different. (more…)

03/31/17 6:01am
Sparkling Pointe's 2014 Brut. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Sparkling Pointe’s 2014 Brut. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Do me — and yourself — a favor and don’t reserve sparkling wine only for parties and special occasions. Sparkling wine makes any night (or heck, even morning) a celebration. And, with so many underrated local sparkling wines available, why not drink them more often? (more…)

03/09/17 12:08pm
Harbes Vineyard 2014 Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Harbes Vineyard 2014 Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it one more time: the wines at Harbes Vineyard are way better than they need to be. With the throngs of people who visit their farm and agritainment mecca on the North Fork, they could get away with mediocre wines for the masses — but that’s not what I’ve found. Ed Harbes and consulting winemaker Erik Bilka are doing good things and Harbes Vineyard is a producer on the rise. It’s a winery that wine lovers, not just wine tourists, need to know. (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…)

02/16/17 5:57am
Pindar Vineyards Dr. Dan's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Pindar Vineyards Dr. Dan’s Signature 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

There is no denying the part Pindar Vineyards founder Dr. Herodotus Damianos played in the creation and popularization of the Long Island wine industry. Known as Dr. Dan, Damianos first bought 30 acres of land in 1979. He planted it a year later and two years after that, Pindar Vineyards sold its first wines. Pindar Vineyards, and its sister winery Duck Walk Vineyards, have since grown to produce more than 100,000 cases per year. (more…)