Off the Fork is a recurring series every Sunday on northforker.com, in which our staff writes about happenings and places we appreciate elsewhere on Long Island and beyond.
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It may seem unlikely to turn to 12-square-mile Shelter Island for authentic Mexican food, but if you’re hankering for fresh south-of-the-border specialties after a long day paddle boarding or hiking through Mashomack Preserve, look no further than Maria’s Kitchen.
In addition to soil, geography and tradition, terroir — the intricacies that influence the character of wine — relies heavily on climate. It’s what sets a lighter, cool-climate pinot noir apart from a full-bodied one grown in a warmer region. Those ideal climatic conditions — warm and temperate with refreshing Atlantic winds and a lengthy growing season — that make the North Fork an optimal location for grapevines to thrive.
The sun hasn’t quite come up as Marin Brennan gets to work at Bedell Cellars on a brisk October morning. “It wakes you right up,” she says, unfazed by the autumn winds gusting through the vineyard and potent fermentation aromas swirling as grapes are pressed.
The harvest is nearly done, although a few stragglers — merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot — remain.
As grape clusters come off their vines, much work remains in the cellar. That work will be completed this year by a team of women. (more…)