Wine

Contour Pinot Noir hits sweet spot for casual red

Contour Pinot Noir hits sweet spot for casual red

When the calendar advances to September, our appetites go “click.” Immediately we start craving fall dishes that cry out for red wine. So we're already on the hunt for this year's house red. Ideally, we want a bottle with the fortitude to stand up to fall flavors—at a price suitable for everyday drinking. And because we usually drink white wine, we'd like it to display soft tannins and restrained alcohol. Give us this day our daily red. Contour Pinot Noir 2017 is a contender this year. This vintage tones down the high alcohol of previous years, coming in at 13.8%. That's still nearly two points higher than an entry-level negociant Burgundy, but it does add a nice sweet note. (Around 14%, alcohol can masquerade as...Read More
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
Tasty dishes for wineries that put the fork in North Fork

Tasty dishes for wineries that put the fork in North Fork

“A loaf of bread, a flask of wine, and thou....” Omar Khayyam was talking about the medieval wilderness in Persia, but his vision of “paradise enough” works just as well for a picnic at one of the North Fork wineries that permit outside food. Almost by definition, vineyards are beautiful places. And a nice meal with a glass of good wine is bound to soften you up to purchase more wine to take home. Most wineries have some food available, but few are set up to provide a spread like the one you can make yourself. Below, we've included two picnic fare recipes from newly published cookbooks that make our mouths water. By the way, the wineries allowing you to bring your own food are...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
Consider Mionetto Prosecco for the Easter table

Consider Mionetto Prosecco for the Easter table

We don't need a lot of persuasion to pour a glass of Prosecco. The bright, fruity wine—especially when it's produced with very little residual sugar—can be extremely food-friendly. Here in the U.S., we tend to treat Prosecco as an apéritif. The wine is native to the Veneto and Fruili-Venezia Giulia, and the Venetians and Friulani think of it as a wine to drink anytime. We agree. So this spring we tried out the most readily available Proseccos from Mionetto (usa.mionetto.com/us), an important producer in the village of Valdobbiadene and also the largest Prosecco importer in the U.S. We're told that Mionetto effectively introduced the wine to the mass market in America in 2000, so our hats are off to them for enriching American tables. Prosecco...Read More
Stylish La Diosa Cellars blends wine, tapas, and music

Stylish La Diosa Cellars blends wine, tapas, and music

The marvelously outlandish Frida Kahlo homage décor might tip you off that Sylvia McPherson was an interior designer before she opened her bistro La Diosa Cellars (901 17th St., Lubbock; 806-744-3600, www.ladiosacellars.com) in 2004. La Diosa is a family affair. Sylvia's father hailed from Spain, and her food menu features many classic Spanish tapas. Her husband, Kim McPherson, makes her four house wines (including a sangría) at his winery across the street (see previous post), and their daughter, an Advanced Sommelier, chooses the other wines on the list. (Four of Dad's also make the grade.) It's one of the few places in Lubbock where I found a broad selection of Texas High Plains wine to enjoy with good food. There's live music at La Diosa...Read More
Sipping tips from the Texas High Plains AVA

Sipping tips from the Texas High Plains AVA

Here's hoping that Texas wines get a boost from the recent nomination of Kim McPherson for a James Beard award in the “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Producer “ category. He's the proprietor and winemaker at McPherson Cellars in Lubbock, one of the wineries finally putting the Texas High Plains AVA (American Viticultural Area) on winelovers' maps. Few Texas wines actually leave the state, and even fewer from the wineries around Lubbock. Yet the Texas High Plains AVA grows about 85 percent of Texas wine grapes. (Many producers in the better-known Texas Hill Country around Fredericksburg buy their grapes from Lubbock.) Although the region is more southerly than many wine-growing areas, the elevation of 3,000–4,000 feet makes all the difference. A wide daily temperature swing...Read More