04/25/17 6:01am
Madiran The Wine Bar

Jacqueline Malenda inside Madiran The Wine Bar. (Credit: David Benthal)

It’s rare that a sixth-grade science fair project predicts one’s career, but that was the case for Jacqueline Malenda, proprietor of Madiran the Wine Bar in East Setauket. While her classmates were growing sugar crystals and measuring electrical currents, Malenda made wine with grapes from the supermarket.

With her parents’ help, she made that single bottle of 8 percent alcohol-by-volume wine using household items like a potato masher, cheesecloth, pitchers and a funnel.

“After making a presentation at the science fair, I came home with the blue ribbon. And the faculty drank my bottle!” (more…)

04/24/17 6:03am
The tasting room at Kontokosta Winery . (Credit: Randee Daddona)

The tasting room at Kontokosta Winery. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Choosing the exact coordinates for Kontokosta Winery’s tasting room was no arbitrary decision.

To find them, brothers and business owners Michael and Constantine Kontokosta set out on the Greenport property one day with a yardstick, some duct tape and a ladder in search of the perfect sightline to the bluff at the edge of their 62-acre property.

“We’d put the ladder down. Step up a few rungs and say, ‘Nope. It’s got to come over a few feet,’ ” said Michael Kontokosta, who also has the added surveying advantage of being 6-foot-4.

It took about an hour and quite a bit of bickering, but the brothers finally pinpointed what would be the center of the stately yet modern structure.

“We said, OK, everything starts from this point,” he said.

When asked if he thinks he made the correct decision, he doesn’t even pause: “I know we got it right.” (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…)

04/07/17 6:01am
Regan and Carey Meador of Southold Farm + Cellar. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Regan and Carey Meador of Southold Farm + Cellar. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

After months of work and planning, Regan and Carey Meador, proprietors of Southold Farm+Cellar will be moving to Texas next week with their young family and young wine brand. I’m going to miss them more than I care to admit and I know I’m not alone.

Much has been written about both their exciting wines and their trials and tribulations with the Town of Southold. I could write about all of that again — but honestly, I just don’t have the energy for it. It’s old news, anyway, and barely matters at this point.

Carey and Regan are moving on and the North Fork community’s loss is the Texas wine community’s gain. (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…)