Sauvignon Blanc

DeLille conjures Bordeaux in Washington State

DeLille conjures Bordeaux in Washington State

t's a complicated story, but Pat's former step-grandfather-in-law was a Frenchman who believed in drinking excellent wine with simple food. He was convinced that Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe elevated charcoal-grilled hot dogs to a gastronomic occasion. We carry on his vision in our household. We don't eat a lot of red meat—except in the summer, when a charcoal grill can make a hamburger the apotheosis of American cuisine. We enjoyed just such a burger in the backyard with a superb red wine—the 2016 Four Flags Cabernet from DeLille Cellars (14421 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. NE, Woodinville, WA; 425-877-9472; delillecellars.com). Founded in 1992, DeLille resides in the top echelon of Washington State wineries. By focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from four old vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA (part of the Columbia...Read More
Kontokosta and Sparkling Pointe: North Fork’s lifestyle wineries

Kontokosta and Sparkling Pointe: North Fork’s lifestyle wineries

Just as there are no ugly babies, there are really no ugly vineyards. But let's grant that some vineyards—and definitely some wineries—are grander than others. And why shouldn't the folks who can afford it exchange vows by the vines? We also suspect that corporate retreats go better when accompanied by a little wine. Which brings us to Kontokosta and Sparkling Pointe, two of the North Fork wineries that seem very much in sync with the lifestyle aspirations of Long Island's South Fork. Kontokosta makes a terrific first impression If you visit the North Fork, as we did, via the Orient Point ferry, Kontokosta (825 North Road, Greenport; 631-477-6977; theharborfrontinn.com/kontokosta-winery) is the first winery to appear along the main road. The winery and vineyards are perched...Read More
Made by hand: One Woman Wines & Vineyards

Made by hand: One Woman Wines & Vineyards

As a farm girl in Calabria, Italy, Claudia Purita learned how to tend a vineyard and how to make wine while her older siblings cared for the family livestock. When the clan relocated to Long Island, she spent the next few decades in the restaurant trade—until 2002, when she bought a potato farm and decided to plant a vineyard in honor of her late father. One thing led to another, and by 2004 she was cultivating 16 acres of vines. By 2007 she was bottling her first vintage. Now the vineyards have expanded to 35 acres. One Woman Wines and Vineyards (5195 Old North Road, Southold; 631-765-1200; onewomanwines.com) is really two women—Claudia and her daughter Gabriella—and a few hired hands. The mother-daughter team do most...Read More
McCall Wines reflect a clean and lean approach

McCall Wines reflect a clean and lean approach

Russell McCall has been growing wine grapes on his family farm—and the adjacent Peconic Land Trust property—since the 1990s. But he didn't release a wine under the family name until 2007. Everything about McCall Wines (22600 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY; 631.734.5764; mccallwines.com) suggests patience and long-term planning. The sandy soils of the south end of the original vineyard are planted with four clones of Pinot Noir. At 11 acres, it's one of the largest such vineyards on the east coast. McCall planted Merlot in the dense, clay-rich soils of the other 10 acres of the family vineyard. In 2011, he acquired and rehabilitated the adjacent North Ridge vineyard that had been planted in 1983 with Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon—providing the winery with true...Read More
Lenz Winery’s finesse whites still set North Fork standard

Lenz Winery’s finesse whites still set North Fork standard

A British friend once told us that Americans have too many choices. He was referring to ice cream, but it's equally true of Long Island wineries. More than 40 producers welcome the public for tastings so it can be difficult to narrow the field to fit a couple of days. We knew, however, that we wanted to start with Lenz Winery (lenzwine.com). For years, we've been telling people that Lenz makes some of the best Burgundy-style Chardonnay on the East Coast. We certainly hoped that was still true. In a word, yes. Lenz was one of the North Fork pioneers. Its first vineyards date from 1978, which makes the promise of the “Old Vines” series much more than a hollow boast. (Wines in the series...Read More
Preview two bright wine pours for spring

Preview two bright wine pours for spring

Winemakers often go out on tour this time of year. In the northern hemisphere, they've just bottled and released their lighter wines. In the southern hemisphere, the harvest hasn't quite come in. We sat down with Florian Lacroux from Provence and Hamish Clark from New Zealand last week at Stephanie's on Newbury (stephaniesrestaurantgroup.com). They were making the rounds for the wine giant E. & J. Gallo (gallo.com). That company has taken its name off jug wines (Naked Grape, Barefoot Cellars, and Carlo Rossi make them instead) while producing fine varietals under the Gallo Family Vineyards, Gallo Family Estates, and Gallo Signature labels. But California can't make New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Provencal rosé. That's where Clark and Lacroux come in. Gallo imports one wine from...Read More
Brilliant Sancerre boosts saffron & roasted-squash pizza

Brilliant Sancerre boosts saffron & roasted-squash pizza

We have to admit that we prefer good Sancerre to the New World versions of Sauvignon Blanc—even the highly touted wines from New Zealand. The French take on the grape drinks well with cold-weather dishes. So when we pondered a pizza pairing for one of our favorite Sancerres, we remembered a hearty risotto. We often make a risotto with saffron and onion broth that is studded with bits of bacon, roasted butternut squash, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. It's perfect with a zingy Sauvignon Blanc. Surely those flavors could be adapted to a pizza. The Wine: Domaine de la Perrière Sancerre 2016 The pairing was perfect. This Sancerre is fermented cold with wild yeasts and ages on the lees about three months. The yeast notes from the...Read More
Comstock embodies Sonoma wine country living

Comstock embodies Sonoma wine country living

The success of the 2004 film Sideways made California Merlot unpopular for a while. But the dip in that red's reputation might have made helped clear the way for the winery and tasting room at Comstock Wines (1290 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-723-3011, comstockwines.com, tastings $20-$50). The photo above looks out the back of Comstock's tasting room to old Merlot vineyards. (That's a blue heron flying over the vines.) Many more vines were sacrificed to clear ground to build the winery, tasting room facility, and wine club residence. But not too many. Founded in 2012 using much older vineyards, Comstock still makes an outstanding Merlot that shows the restraint of the cooler Dry Creek Valley climate but bursts with black currant and violets. Currently producing...Read More
Kokomo Winery lets grapes do their thing

Kokomo Winery lets grapes do their thing

The small red industrial building on the Timber Crest Farms property that houses Kokomo Winery (4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-0205, kokomowines.com, tastings $10-$25) is deceptively modest. The winery was founded by Erik Miller in 2004, who named it for his Indiana hometown. The vineyards date much, much farther back. Some Zinfandel plantings on the estate are more than 150 years old. Partner Randy Peters, a fourth-generation grape grower, has tended other vineyards here since 1974. He grows about 70 percent of Kokomo's fruit in all three Healdsburg appellations: Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. We say the building is modest because the wines are anything but. Miller's philosophy of winemaking is terroir-driven. “The special thing about wine is that it showcases...Read More
1865 wines push Chilean boundaries

1865 wines push Chilean boundaries

As the planet's temperature rises, wine regions creep into zones once considered inhospitable for Vitis vinifera. Chile is no exception. Matias Cruzat, the young winemaker for Viña San Pedro's 1865 brand (sanpedro.cl/en/1865-single-vineyard), casts the newer cold-climate vineyards as “seeking Burgundy in Chile.” To his credit, Cruzat isn't imitating the Burgundians. But he has steered the 1865 wines toward a balance between old and new world styles. Bargain-priced in the $12-$18 range, these are nonetheless premium wines. (Viña San Pedro's entry-level wines sell under the GatoNegro label.) Cruzat's reference to Burgundy refers to the newest 1865 single-vineyard wines: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Elqui Valley. “It is really the southern end of the Atacama Desert,” he points out. The region has grown grapes since the...Read More