Sundays have become my day of adventure, apparently.
Bored with brunch and general city going-ons, Ian and I have taken to exploring the greater New York-area and its environs, in-depth. Sometimes, it’s as close as the Upper West Side, or Brooklyn. Other times, it’s gallivanting off to rural Pennsylvania for a lumberjack festival. This week, though, we took to Long Island to spend time with friends in the North Fork.
Naturally, there was plenty of wine.
When I started taking this whole wine thing seriously, I knew nothing about the vibrant wine-growing regions in New York state. I always just assumed that all wine regions had to resemble California or Italy or France… My first mistake.
My second was that I didn’t try them sooner. Riesling from the Finger Lakes! Reds from the Hudson Valley! And yes, even (especially?) Long Island. All of the wine, tho? Yep. I believe, I believe!
Since that time, I’ve likely consumed an ocean’s worth of New York wine. A generally cool climate region, the state’s pours tend toward an lighter, more acidic and lean flavor profile. Translation: great with food and super easy to enjoy on its own. Fruit bombs, these are not.
I love the stuff made here, and luckily, there’s an influx of super-talented producers hitting the market and educating people with their great bottles.
Exhibit A: Southold Farm + Cellar in Southold.
Started by husband-and-wife team Regan and Carey Meador, it’s a modest operation that will blow up in the next few years. Calling it now.
With nine planted acres on 24 total acres, Southold is dedicated to “weird” grapes: Lagrein, Teroldego and Goldmuskateller (plus Syrah, but that’s less weird). Unfortunately, the vines are still too young to harvest quality fruit, but that’s not stopping Regan from making wine. Sourcing his grapes throughout the North Fork and NY from organic and biodynamic vineyards, he’s a proponent of low-interference winemaking, but insists he’s not dogmatic. “I want to make good wine,” he says, “but I don’t really want to do science experiments.”
But yo. This wine. So delicious. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Southold tasting room is open to buy wine and taste through four offerings ($15 for the flight). During the week, you need an appointment, since they’re, y’know, working and stuff.
The tasting room, a humble little building that looks straight out of a Kinfolk spread, was empty save for us ‘Thuse folks. Regan was holding court, talking to us about his history and Long Island’s wine scene. Unlike lots of tasting rooms with fancy chandeliers, apron-wearing hipster servers and out of control opulence, Southold is a relief of an experience. Knowledgeable with a bit of city edge, Regan did what any winemaker would do with a rapt audience: took us on a journey.
I’m not gonna bore you with the details. Find Southold’s wines and see for yourself.
Wait, I lied.
As a lover of Italian-style Lambruscos, I implore you to seek out the Damn the Torpedoes sparkling red. In case you’re a dummy, it’s fall, y’all. This blend of Pinot Noir, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot is a glassful of leaves and a hit of something darker, like reduced balsamic with overripe berries. Get it in yo’ mouf.
Don’t skip out on the Devil’s Advocate Chardonnay. Forty-year old vines give up some batshit-crazy good fruit: grassy, herbaceous and only a hint of tell-tale Chardonnay-ness.
Needless to say, we all walked away with a good amount of Southold’s wine (and some apparel!), but not before Regan added us to his email list. New stuff is coming soon, he said.
Don’t tempt me with a good time.