Tag Archives: Long Island

North Fork Wine Tasting

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This week was Erik’s birthday, and to celebrate we spent Friday wine tasting on the North Fork of Long Island. Now having parents in the wine world has its perks and let me tell you, yesterday was one of them! My dad set up a wonderful day for us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Bedell Cellars Tasting Room

Bedell Cellars Tasting Room

We started off bright and early at 11 (it was the only way we were going to get everywhere) at Bedell Cellars on the Main Road in Cutchogue where we had a tour of their winemaking facility from their winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich. We took a look around the grounds and at the vineyard, and then started our first tasting of the day. We tried four of their wines: the 2012 First Crush White (a white blend), the 2011 Sparkling Rose (I am a sucker for sparkling), the 2011 Cabernet Franc, and the 2011 Malbec. In the small world that is the North Fork, Erik’s mom also happened to design the Bedell building and we had a good time looking around as Erik pointed out her signature elements.

We headed next to Sherwood House‘s tasting house, in Jamesport. Here we tasted the 2012 White Merlot, the 2012 Stainless Steel Chardonnay, the 2010 Chardonnay, the 2007 Cabernet Franc, the 2006 Sherwood Manor (red blend), and the 2012 Merliance. Merliance is 100% Merlot, made up of a blend of grapes from a number of different Long Island wineries, to showcase Long Island Merlot varietal. It is a very small, intimate tasting room with in a nice setting, perfect for a picnic and we decided to sit outside and have our lunch with a glass of the 2012 White Merlot which was perfect in the hello-summer weather. I am normally not a White Merlot fan but Erik and I were both impressed with this one. It was made as more of a rose than as strictly a white wine, which may have made a difference, but regardless we both really enjoyed it. I am a big red wine drinker and I also enjoyed the Sherwood Manor and the Merliance quite a bit, although even I have to admit that drinking reds in that humidity was a challenge. Speaking of which, I can’t believe how warm it has been the last few days and Friday the weather didn’t ease up at all, staying in the 90s and high 80s most of the day and there seemed to be no escape from the humidity.

Sherwood House tasting room

Sherwood House Tasting Room

The next stop on our day of tasting was just down the street (which was lucky as we were walking between these two and in that sticky heat we didn’t want to walk far) at Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue. I had not been to Paumanok since I was very young and was excited to now be old enough to try their wine, and I was impressed with everything I tasted. With the recommendations of the very nice tasting room staff we tried: the 2012 Chenin Blanc, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2012 Dry Riesling, the Minimalist Chardonnay (which was very impressive and surprising), the 2011 Dry Rose, the 2012 Dry Rose, the Assemblage (a red blend), the 2011 Cabernet Franc, and the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was here that we had our favorite wine of the day–2012 Chenin Blanc. I also enjoyed their Roses quite a bit which for me was a surprise as there are a very few number of Roses that I can say that for. We had a quick look around and each bought a bottle of the Chenin Blanc before we were picked up for our next stop. I was also pleasantly surprised to here have tasted one of the few Chardonnays that I have ever truly liked: the Minimalist. I am not a Chardonnay drinker, which may come as a surprise given the number of them we tried, but I like, especially when tasting, to try at least one everywhere I go in hopes of being surprised and here I was, for the second time in a day.

We then headed up to the North Road and over to Macari Vineyard‘s tasting room in Mattituck. We started with a short tasting of their 2012 Early White, followed by the 2008 Dos Aguas, and the 2010 Block E before heading down to the tank room for a look, where we met with Kelly Urbanik, the winemaker, who is very nice and we had a good time talking to her.

You can’t believe there is more, I know, trust me I know! Let me tell you, I was struggling a bit at this point, luckily we slowed down from here on out.

Lieb Cellars Oregon Road

Lieb Cellars Oregon Road

After a short walk down the road we arrived at Premium Wine Group, where I worked this past harvest. My dad showed Erik around the winery, and gave us a few tanks samples to compare. We tried a few different styles of Riesling and Chardonnay and had a good time discussing the differences. For our next and last stop we went to Lieb Cellars new Oregon Road tasting room, which none of us but my dad had been to before. Eriks’ parents and mine, as well as two friends of ours joined us for a cheese platter and tasting of the 2009 Pinot Blanc Cuvee (a sparkling wine), the 2011 Pinot Blanc (which was my favorite here), the 2011 Bridge Lane Chardonnay, and the 2011 Bridge Lane Rose. It was a very nice ending to our day of tasting.

At this point we were more than hungry and went back to Eriks’ parents house for dinner from Braun Seafood which was perfect and exactly what I wanted. It was a really nice night and we sat outside and chatted for quite a while, a while being until I had been bitten by so many mosquitos that I couldn’t stand it any longer. I am a mosquito magnet and am currently covered in bites from my knees to my toes, but it was a nice night to sit outside so it was worth it. Nothing that a little calamine lotion can’t cure! All in all it was a very North Fork filled day and we had a lovely time touring the wineries.

It was Eriks’ first time going tasting on the North Fork and I think it is safe to say that we all enjoyed his birthday. We are already talking about which wineries we want to visit on our next tasting day! It was also a nice last hurrah for me before starting my real-person-adult internship on Monday, updates on that to come soon I am sure.

If you live in NY or are visiting I highly suggest adding a day of wine tasting into your summer plans!

Hurricane Sandy

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While this post took a bit longer to write than I anticipated, given what you are about to read I think you will understand why . . . The last few days have left just about everyone in the northeast, all of NYC, and Long Island with a Hurricane Sandy story. Here is mine:

Let me start off by saying that hurricanes are nothing new to Long Island. Given that I have lived here all of my 21 years, I have seen my share of hurricanes, tropical storms, etc. Sandy however is the first storm (that I have been home for and remember) that has behaved like a true storm. Sandy was not the false alarm that I initially anticipated, and has left serious damage and destruction across the Northeast.

There is nothing quite like a hurricane to stir up a little stress and excitement in ones life and Hurricane Sandy definitely achieved that one! While all of the grapes were in, there was still plenty to do at the winery, and all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning were spent preparing the wine and fermenting juice for the possibility that no one would be able to reach the winery for a few days. We secured all of the outside tanks, brought in all of the equipment, made the necessary chemical additions to the wine, and made as many preparations as we could. It was a busy weekend, but we were lucky and did not have any damage to or interference with this years vintage.

The winery interns have been staying at a beach house rental, with the ocean as their backyard. As we anticipated they were evacuated, however it occurred a day earlier than anyone expected. The house divided up, with Zora (the Hungarian intern) and her sister Zille (pronounced Z-la) coming to stay at my parents’ house, while the boys–Brandon from Australia and Joel from New Zealand–going to stay at one of the wine makers house.

It was fun having guests, and it’s a good thing that we enjoyed it, because this has been the week of guests, but I will get to that later. My mom being the nervous, neurotic planner that she is (skills that I am actually glad I inherited) made enough food to feed a small army for at least a week and a half! Luckily my parents’ house is high enough above sea level that we did not have flooding issues, we never lost power, and the worst in my neighborhood was a fallen tree blocking the street. There have been so many storms in the last few years that all of our trees have already fallen down (except the one in the street apparently). We had a good time through the storm actually. Zora and Zille taught me some bits and pieces of Hungarian (I know the first third of their alphabet, how to say “grey,” “mouse,” “hello,” “how are you,” and “May I have a beer please?”—all of the necessities! I even tried some Hungarian palinka (similar to schnapps) and we carved pumpkins. Our only real scare was during the peak of the storm on Monday night, when we received a frantic phone call from a friend of mine saying that her sister and her had not been able to get in touch with their parents (good family friends of ours) all day and asking if we had heard anything. As we had not, and given that the roads weren’t too bad, and they live a half-a-mile away we drove over to investigate. They were fine, and we had a nice awkward moment when I walked into their bedroom with my flashlight and woke them up, but luckily everyone was fine and they just had lost power.

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Homes turned into islands

On Tuesday Zora, Zille, and I went for a drive out to Hampton Bays, stopping in Riverhead and Westhampton and saw whole roads still flooded, boats pulled from their moorings and sitting in the middle of the road, gasoline and oil leaking into the bay, lawns turned into lakes, and house after house abandoned. The two of them left Tuesday night to discover if their house (the beach house) was washed away by the ocean, luckily it was not, and amazingly they had no damage or water in the house. Wednesday night we all went into work again and the stories of devastation began with trees through roofs, houses flooded, no power or heat, and they continued on the radio with the death toll rising, a million customers without power, lower manhattan in the dark, towns underwater, cars flattened by trees, sharks seen swimming through neighborhoods in New jersey, houses swept away, and whole neighborhoods left homeless, cold, wet, and without food.

Wednesday my cousin Diana, her mom Kathy, and my Great Uncle Eddy came for dinner as their house, while undamaged is without power, heat, water, ect. On Friday they were back and decided to stay until their power returns as the temperature has taken a swan dive, plummeting into the low 30s at night. If the majority of Long Island not having heat, running water, running out of food and supplies, and with severely damaged or destroyed homes wasn’t enough, Long Island is now experiencing a severe gas shortage. The last few days have been pandemonium, as most stations do not have power and those who do run out every day. People are waiting on lines for upwards of an hour, prices have risen 50 cents, there have been fights, and many stations have been forced to call the cops repeatedly.

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Boats were pulled from their moorings and pushed into the street.

In conditions such as these with such ruin across the northeast I can’t help but feel guilty that my family got out without a scratch, with no damage to my house when I know people whose childhood homes and everything in them were destroyed, no trouble with gas, when I have heard stories of people not being able to get food or medical attention because they don’t have a way to get there, people freezing at night when I have heat, etc. Experiences such as these, remind me just how much  I take for granted such as running and fresh water, hot showers, heat, availability of food, gasoline, and a home. There are so many across the globe who live without these luxuries all their lives, and now there are hundreds of thousands across the northeast without them as well.

Good Luck to all of those out there who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, I am thinking of you!