08/22/17 6:02am

The brand new Southold Farm + Cellar tasting room. (Credit: Regan Meador courtesy)

On Friday, Southold Farm + Cellar’s second day back in business after more than a year, co-owner and winemaker Regan Meador tells me he has just killed five scorpions. They commonly crawl along his 62-acre property and can range in size from the diameter of a quarter to the length of a human palm, he says.

“We’re in a whole new world out here,” he says.

Indeed they are. (more…)

08/18/17 11:29am

Martha Clara Vineyards Pinot Grigio is our ‘Wine of the Week.’ (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Pinot Grigio, most of it anyway, is barely wine. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but most of the stuff you see on store shelves and on restaurant wine lists is rather insipid. I’d call it more of an easy-drinking inebriant than wine.

On the other hand, maybe it’s better than all of the barrel-bludgeoned chardonnay you’ll find at most bars and restaurants.

That isn’t the point here, though. The point is that most Pinot Grigio is boring and not something that I have use for in my day-to-day drinking rotation. (more…)

07/27/17 12:18pm

Martha Clara Vineyards Estate Reserve Riesling. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

When a lot of people think about New York riesling, they think about the Finger Lakes region in central New York, where it has earned a reputation for consistent quality. Some local wineries buy riesling juice from up there and make the wines here. Often, you’ll see “New York State” listed on those labels where you’d usually see “North Fork of Long Island” or “The Hamptons, Long Island.”

But that doesn’t mean that the Finger Lakes have a monopoly on delicious, food-friendly riesling in New York. (more…)

07/20/17 6:00am

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard 2014 Syrah. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Compared to other red grapes like merlot, cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc, you just don’t see a lot of syrah being grown on Long Island. And you don’t find many varietal Syrahs — that is wines made of at least 75 percent Syrah with that word printed on the label.

Maybe I’ll get into the reasons why in an upcoming column, but for now just know that there just aren’t that many. But, they always seem to stand out in my tastings. Maybe it’s just the novelty of them — they have entirely different flavor profiles than those other red grapes — but I almost always like them. Maybe not as much as I like Syrah from the Northern Rhone, but still, I feel like there is unrealized potential for this grape here on the North Fork.

Our “Wine of the Week,” Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard 2014 Syrah, hints at that potential. (more…)

07/12/17 9:46am

Bridge Lane Wines red blend. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

There are two main theories when it comes to pairing wine with food, mirroring flavors or contrasting them. Having a heavy pasta dish with butter, cream and maybe some pancetta? You could have a rich chardonnay with a healthy dose of oak to reinforce the same flavors. Or you could have a bright, citrusy unoaked white that cuts through the heft and weight of the food.

Personally, I lean toward the contrasting mode of wine pairing. (more…)

07/11/17 6:03am
Roanoke Vineyards

Richie Pisacano at Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

You could argue the region’s best wines — both from a fan perspective and that of a wine critic — are grown by Richie Pisacano.

It’s in part because Pisacano, vineyard manger at Wölffer Estate Vineyard and co-owner of Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead, has the benefit of 40 years’ experience in an industry that is just four years older than that.

The longtime vineyard manager took a job with Mudd Vineyards in 1977, at age 15, working to install some of the North Fork’s first vineyards. Now 55, he’s probably the youngest person among the first wave of Long Island wine growers still working in the business.

He recalled the energy and enthusiasm in the region after the Hargraves planted the first commercial grapes in Cutchogue in 1973.

“We started grafting grapevines and that’s what drew me in,” he said during an early June interview. “It was magnetic.” (more…)

06/30/17 6:01am
Sauvignon Blanc

Macari Vineyards Lifeforce Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thomspson)

Summer and Long Island sauvignon blanc go hand in hand. As the hot, humid weather descends upon us, the bright citrusy flavors of local sauvignon slakes our thirst and refreshes us.

But not all Long Island Sauvignon Blanc is created equal. There are myriad styles thanks to experimentation on the part of local winemakers. Some producers pick their grapes a bit earlier to capture the most acidity. Others wait a bit longer to mitigate some of the green flavors that many expect in sauvignon blanc. You’ll find varying degrees of skin contact, lees contact and even barrel fermentation or aging too.

Note: Keep an eye out for the next issue of Long Island Wine Press, where we take and in-depth look at Long Island Sauvignon Blanc.  

Our “Wine of the Week,” Macari Vineyards 2015 Lifeforce Sauvignon Blanc, shows of yet another experimental side of local sauvignon blanc. Winemaker Kelly Koch uses one of the winery’s concrete eggs — they look exactly how you’re picturing them — to ferment a portion of the Lifeforce blend. The remainder is fermented in stainless steel. (more…)