05/12/17 6:02am
A look at the bar at Bedell Cellars Tap Room at Corey Creek. (Credit: David Benthal)

A look at the bar at Bedell Cellars’ Tap Room at Corey Creek. (Credit: David Benthal)

Expect a new look, feel and taste at Bedell Cellars‘ The Tap Room at Corey Creek this summer.

The Southold tasting room will serve five Bedell wines on tap (hence the name) including selections of rosé, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc and merlot. Specialty wines like pétillant-naturel and even ciders will also be intermittently available. Wine will be sold from the tap by the glass and carafe. (more…)

05/05/17 6:01am
A bottle of Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard Petite Verdot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard Petite Verdot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Petit verdot is a grape that you’ve probably tasted before, though perhaps without realizing it.

A red grape used in classic Bordeaux blends, it’s grown in many vineyards on the North Fork, though not in large quantities. It’s a late ripener and often among the last grapes picked every harvest. On Long Island, it’s mostly used to add color, tannin and acidity other red wines. It can really help with mid-palate weight and concentration, making wines taste more complete.

And once you recognize its telltale structure and flavors, you can pick it out even in small amounts in a blend. (more…)

05/02/17 5:58am

Bottles of Channing Daughters VerVino. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Bottles of Channing Daughters VerVino. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

For most Americans, vermouth tends to be binary — either red and sweet or white and dry. It’s the stuff on the bottom shelf at the liquor store that’s usually cheap and only useful for martinis and Manhattans. That’s a bit like thinking that all there is to wine is $7 merlot and chardonnay.

It’s just not true  — and if you feel that way, you’re really missing out. (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…)

04/28/17 6:00am
There are value Long Island wines in many different price ranges. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

There are value Long Island wines in many different price ranges. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

While the East End of Long Island offers beautiful scenery and recreation, it is the distinct food and wine landscape and deep pride in it that sets this area apart. 

I was born and raised on the cusp of western Long Island, in Queens, and began working in restaurants in 1968 at the age of 15. At the time, I was just looking to stay out of trouble and save up some money to buy an amp, but it quickly became apparent that I had been bitten by the kitchen bug. I went on to spend time in culinary school and worked in dozens of L.I. restaurants. Throughout those years, I was lucky to work with regional ingredients and vendors, which gave me an appreciation for Long Island and its agricultural offerings and roots. (more…)

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…)