I grew up on Eastern Long Island so I’m always anxious to explore when I have a chance. This time it was a family affair, with my mother, and my daughter and her boyfriend.
You know the saying, “So little time, so many places to see?” That’s me when it comes to Long Island. For this trip I only had one day and decided we’d do the North Fork, which I haven’t been to in a while.
I contacted the Long Island Wine Council for some advice on new and unique wineries that would give me a wide range in a short period of time. They did a good job in choosing.
Our first stop was at Raphael Winery in Peconic. It’s a beautiful winery so it’s no wonder it’s popular for weddings
The winery is family owned and has been around for 13 years. Their selection included a little of everything. I especially liked the 2013 Rose, which is mostly merlot with a bit of pinot noir. It has a strawberry nose and hints of berries in a semi-dry wine. The 2010 La Fontana is a delicious red blend with a complex flavor that highlights licorice and blackberries.
I also recommend the 2013 Riesling. It’s light and fresh, perfect for a summer day. And, you can’t go wrong with their La Tavola White and La Tavola Red, both delicious and $20 and under.
Winemaker Anthony Nappa took me around the winery, which believes in sustainable practices.
He then led us over to his own place, the Winemaker Studio, which also has Provisions for his chef wife to produce deli sandwiches, cheese plates, and other wine tasting accompaniments.
I enjoyed all of Nappa’s wines. My favorite was definitely the 2013 'Frizzante' Sparkling White Wine, a pinot noir, with some Riesling and gewürztraminer. It’s sold in a beer style bottle and just remembering it has me wondering if I can find a place around here to get some.
Truthfully, just bring an extra suitcase and take home (at least) one of everything at the Winemakers Studio.
Our other choice is always on the menu and a must try. Spinach-Stuffed Brie with a berry compote is a superb mix of flavors.
Claudio’s specializes in seafood and my mother and daughter indulged with a Lobster Roll and a Lobster BLT.
When I say burger, this was far from an ordinary one. It was topped with arugula, tomato confit, and cheddar.
After lunch, we drove to Kontokosta Winery in Greenport. This is another place which is popular on the wedding circuit and I can see why. It’s a 62 acre waterfront property. The winery is fully wind-powered.
It is also the eastern most winery on the North Fork, giving them the ability to produce some different grapes with unique flavor.
The winery is fairly new, with the production building not ready until 2012, so they don’t have any old vintages here, but what they have is all worthy of a taste. Their 2013 Riesling is everything a Riesling should be – semi-dry with a fresh apricot nose and a bit of grapefruit and honeysuckle on the tongue.
I wished we had more time for more tasting and exploring, but it was time to head back and get ready for dinner. The North Fork will definitely stay on my list of Long Island places to return to.