05/20/17 6:11am

A bottle of McCall Wines 2016 Cuvée Nicola. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

McCall Wines earned its reputation among local wine lovers on the back of its pinot noir program, which stands as the best on the East End. No other pinot noir comes close.

A peek behind the pinot portion of the portfolio reveals quality across the board. McCall’s cabernet franc and merlot are also often outstanding as well. The rosé, too. But the hidden gem of the lineup is on the white wine side — sauvignon blanc.

Starting in 2015, the McCall sauvignon blanc has been made entirely with estate-grown fruit (rather than purchased grapes from elsewhere on the North Fork). Grown in McCall’s North Ridge Vineyard — a vineyard formerly known as Andy’s Field when it was part of the Gristina property — our Wine of the Week is McCall Wines 2016 “Cuvée Nicola” Sauvignon Blanc ($24). (more…)

05/13/17 6:00am
A bottle of Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Paumanok Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

This week’s cool weather aside, it’s spring. We’re not that far from summer, in fact. I know that I — along with the new patch of grass that I’m trying to grown in my back yard — could use a bit more sunshine in my life.

Enter Long Island sauvignon blanc. Bright, citrusy and refreshing it’s one of the go-to wines at my house every summer. Look for my feature story in the summer issue of the Long Island Wine Press for a full run-down on the grape, why it’s so well-suited to Long Island and the various styles being made here.

In the meantime, this week’s “Wine of the Week” is Paumanok Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($24) which deftly exemplifies what Long Island sauvignon blanc is and can be. (more…)

04/28/17 6:02am
A bottle of Roanoke VIneyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Roanoke VIneyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

If you quickly glance at this week’s “Wine of the Week,” Roanoke Vineyards 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc, you might think it a white wine — it’s that light in its copper tint.

On that color, Roanoke Vineyards’ Scott Sandell told me in an email, “Visuals are important, but we didn’t shape this wine around them. It’s not dyed or otherwise altered for good looks. We don’t go there with any of the wines, and this one is just lighter in color; not a lot of skin contact: styled for taste over color.”

He’s right. It’s light on color but not on flavor. (more…)

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…)