Is eating & drinking local trendy? Well, yes, but about as trendy as it has been in every other country outside of the U.S. since forever. There’s something bizarre in the fact that we don’t drink local products, but I’m very happy to see the shift to do so happening – and quickly!
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t still some products that are not very good, but isn’t that the case essentially anywhere? Here in NYC, we are lucky to have 2 large high-quality wine producing areas in our own state: Long Island & the Finger Lakes. (I’m heading to the Finger Lakes in a few weeks, so lets save that for later.)
Although the climate and soil are great out on the north fork, unfortunately, this is also the area knows as ‘The Hamptons’, filled with beautiful vacation homes, and thus the real estate prices are not in the farmer’s favor. While challenging, there are a few wineries I’ve found are doing it right, and making some fantastic wines.
Long Island wines made a name for themselves in Merlot production, and this is one of my favorite representations:
Bedell Cellars, Merlot, North Fork, 2012 ($35)
Bedell, founded by a film-maker turned wine-maker, has staffed up their team with incredibly strong individuals, almost all of whom come from a winemaking education – a rarity on the east coast! It shows in their products, and while this is my favorite day-to-day drinking wine, they also make beautiful premium wines, and as well the ‘Taste’ Rose, which is perfect for the spring & summer.
One of my other local favorites is Channing Daughters. Their team, led by Larry Perrine (a charismatic character), has been doing some interesting experimental wines out on eastern long island, and pushing the boundaries on the capabilities of different varietals and production methods. Their wines vary from Blaufrakish, to Dornefelder, roses from Syrah & Cabernet Franc, through skin-fermented Chardonnay.
Try the Ramato, 2012 ($24), which is a skin-fermented Pinot Grigio. A technique historically used in Friuli, Italy, it results in copper-colored wines with complex flavors.
Since Channing Daughters has such a variety of different wines, it also makes it a great winery to head out to visit during the summer and fall. Wine tour anyone?