A handcrafted oak bar with seating for six will make way to enjoy some quality vino with your fromage during your next visit to The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck.
Michael Affatato, who purchased the business from longtime owner Rosemary Batcheller in September, has recently received a permit to sell wine and beer at the Love Lane shop. Wine was available when Batcheller owned the store, though Affatato hopes to expand the offerings.
It’s a natural fit given his decades in the wine trade, including years spent running his Bordeaux vineyard, Chateau La Gatte, with his then-wife, Hélène. They sold the vineyard in 2013.
“I love cheese a lot, but wine is my comfort zone,” Affatato said.
He will be selecting vintages from the 2,800 cases of French wine he has stored in a warehouse in Edison, NJ along with Long Island bottles to accompany your brie with truffles or roquefort bleu cheese. Expect 25 wines by the glass and bottles available on a rotating basis.
“I want to keep the wine bar here French and Long Island — that’s it,” he said. Prices will range from $10 to $17 per glass and $30 to $50 per bottle.
“For $30 people can get a really good bottle of wine,” he said, offering a sample of a tasty, aromatic Loire Valley cabernet franc that sells for $10 per glass to prove his point.
The bar itself was crafted by Affatato’s long-time friend Terri Kurtz, a Sound Beach registered nurse and mother of three. It is the first professional commission for Kurtz, though looking at the two glossy six-foot-by-two-foot bar top, you’d never know it.
Carpentry is a skill she learned from her father, Tom LoConte, who passed away in 2010.
“I have all the tools because my dad had the tools,” she said. “If I want something and I can’t afford it, I make it.”
The bar top is made from oak flooring that Kurtz’ husband Rob salvaged — still in its original packaging — from a landfill. She finds a surprising amount of material this way, she said.
“Most people get flowers. I get garbage,” she joked.
The new bar top makes for a great spot for an after-dinner night cap or a fondue date night. The Village Cheese Shop will remain open until about midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Find them at 105 Love Lane in Mattituck.
“It’s like an adult playground,” Affatato said. “We have the biggest selection of cheese east of Murray’s [Cheese in Manahttan]. We have over 200 types of cheeses here.”