Greetings from the North Fork

For my first and only and last vacation of the entire summer, we went with some friends out east to Long Island’s North Fork wine country yesterday and you haven’t been out here, it’s pretty amazing.

Most of the time, when you hear New Yorkers say they’re headed out east, they’re referring to the Hamptons, Quogue, Sag Harbor etc.  Those are all located on the South Fork at the eastern end of Long Island.  But the North Fork is a whole different story, an agricultural community that traces its roots back to the 1600’s – you can tell by the town names (Jamesport, Southold, etc).

In 1973, one of the farmers told his neighbors that he was going to grow wine grapes out here.  Of course, they all laughed at him.  40 years and 52 independent vineyards later, who’s laughing now? Below, the wineries of the North Fork:

The most startling thing about LI’s wine country is in the diversity, there’s not a wine grape they’re not doing out here and the reputation of the vineyards grows with every passing year (for true oenophiles, 2010 was one of the best vintages in the history of the region thanks to a combination of mild winter, early bud-breaking and the perfect moisture/heat combo throughout the growing season).

We hit a few vineyards yesterday for tasting flights, Duck Walk is the big one everyone knows but we preferred Bedell’s and Sparking Pointe for the ladies (they liked the bubbles, it’s New York State’s only dedicated sparkling wine house, using the techniques of the Champagne region).  I don’t know much about wine but I’m with people who do so this is a very cool experience for me.

But eating I know a lot about, I put on a small plates and raw bar clinic at the restaurant Chef Noah’s for dinner last night.  And then Michael J Fox showed up and the Gen X-aged girls at my table lost their shit (he looks great, good to see).

Anyway, the thing to do is hit as many tastings as possible and then hit all the farm stands on your way back to civilization.  That’s the game plan for us today, talk soon.

Some pics below:

Duck Walk’s Blue Duck Merlot:

The tasting porch at Sparkling Pointe:

Tasting room at Bedell’s: