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01/20/13 10:05am
01/20/2013 10:05 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Papo Vazquez Pirate Troubadors performing at Raphael during Jazz on the Vine 2012.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Papo Vazquez Pirate Troubadors performing at Raphael during Jazz on the Vine 2012.

The 2013 edition of the Winterfest Jazz on the Vine series kicks off February 8. Tickets to the concert events are $20.

Check out the complete schedule below:

A complete list of events for Long Island’s 2013 Jazz on the Vine Winterfest concert series

01/10/13 5:00pm
01/10/2013 5:00 PM

Here’s something to warm you up for the winter: The North Fork of Long Island now has something in common with Rioja, Spain and Danube, Austria. All three regions were included in Wine Enthusiast’s recent list of the Top 10 Wine Destinations in the World for 2013.

The news comes three months after travel company TripAdvisor named Long Island one of the top five wine destinations in the country.

“You couldn’t ask for more positive news starting off 2013 than being named one of the world’s top ten wine destinations,” said Ron Goerler, president of the Long Island Wine Council and owner of Jamesport Vineyards. “It’s a shot in the arm this area needs right now … after Sandy, things got very quiet out here.”

But Mr. Goerler said with the approaching Winterfest, the North Fork’s annual jazz and wine festival, things will quickly heat up in North Fork wine region.

“As president of the Long Island Wine Council, I couldn’t be more excited for 2013,” he said.

Founding winemaker Kip Bedell of Bedell Cellars in Southold, was singing the same tune. As someone who has been making wine in the region for more than three decades, he said he “felt all along that this region has a potential to make world class wines, though like any region, we had a lot to learn and much has changed and will change in the vineyards in order to reach that potential.”

See the complete list of wine destinations by clicking here.

01/09/13 5:00pm
01/09/2013 5:00 PM

Bedell Cellars’s 2009 Merlot will be served at President Barrack Obama’s inauguration luncheon Jan. 21.

The presidential inaugural luncheon is a tradition that dates back to 1867, but this year’s bipartisan breaking of bread between the United States Congress and Supreme Court will feature something entirely new – Long Island wine.

Bedell Cellars’ 2009 merlot, a lauded local wine, will be served with bison at the Jan. 21 luncheon, which will celebrate the new year and the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term.

Bedell’s road from its Southold vineyard to the president’s palate began at New York Farm Day, according to winery CEO Trent Preszler.

“[It’s] an annual event held in Washington D.C. featuring New York agricultural products,” Mr. Preszler said. “It’s all thanks to New York senior senator Charles Schumer (D – N.Y.) and Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. We’ve been working on this for several months now and are proud to finally be able to share the news with the world.”

The CEO, who holds a doctorate in viticulture, said merlots are historically important to Bedell, but that 2009’s vintage is ideal for the traditional toast as a wine that’s “truly expressive of the New York winemaker.”

Founding winemaker Kip Bedell said the vintage is a “classic Long Island merlot” with “ripe tannins and a beautiful balance between fruit and acidity.” The quality of the wine, he said, speaks not only to the crop, but to a successful winemaking style.

“It’s got beautiful fruit characteristics, though 2009 wasn’t as hot as the following year,” he said. “In almost any given year, we can make pretty nice wine. Once the grapes get up to the winemaker, it’s about directing those grapes into the best wine you can make with them. If there’s not a great year with tons of color and tremendous acidity in the fruit, there are ways to make the wine balanced and drinkable, without, say, aging it in oak for a long time so it comes out tasting like a toothpick.”

Mr. Bedell said the 2009 merlot, which has netted Bedell Cellars numerous awards since its release, is a fine choice for the celebration and should make for a “delicious” pairing with the bison.

“Serving Long island’s own Bedell Cellars merlot at the Inaugural luncheon shines a spotlight on one of New York’s world-class wine industry,” Senator Schumer noted in a press release this week. “President Obama, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Cabinet will all get a taste of Long Island’s finest with the addition of Bedell Cellars. I’m pleased to be able to showcase a fantastic New York company, one of many wineries that strengthen our New York’s economy.”

[email protected]

11/19/12 6:00am
11/19/2012 6:00 AM

Saveur, a New York City-based gourmet food magazine, recently published a list of “nine great Long Island wines.”

The Island’s North and South Forks, where the vineyards are, benefit from sea breezes that keep temperatures moderate, protecting grapes from late frost and overripening, the article reads.

Chosen among the wines are bottles from Paumanok, Shinn Estate, Palmer, Lenz, Macari, Bedell, Wolffer, Anthony Nappa and Channing Daughters.

The piece includes a quote from Mike Mraz of North Fork Table and Inn in Southold.

Read the full article by clicking here

08/01/12 12:00pm
08/01/2012 12:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | NY76.0844.24 makes a top-ranked floral, muscat wine, according to Cornell scientists. So what would you name it?

Love wine? Want to help name a new variety of grape?

Here’s  your chance.

Cornell University is asking the public to help them name two new varieties of grape from their breeding program set to be released next year.

Grape breeder Bruce Reisch is the man behind the new varieties, including a cold-hardy white wine grape and an organic dark red one, currently named NY76.0844.24 and NY95.0301.01, respectively.

Mr. Reisch said the name needs to stand out among the 7,000 other varieties of grape and be “marketable, easy to pronounce and carry positive connotations,” adding that both foreign-sounding and names similar to well-loved varieties are popular.

NY76.0844.24, the white wine grape, was first created in 1976, a highly productive grape that ranks high in its winter hardiness. Mr. Reisch said it has “excellent wine quality and aromatic characters reminiscent of Gewürztraminer or a citrusy Muscat.”

NY95.0301.01, the organic red, was developed in 1995 and fast-tracked into production because of its promise as an organic variety. It is the first grape to be released from a “no-spray” vineyard, with good resistance to both downy and powdery mildews. Mr. Reisch said “it exhibits moderate body, good structure and blueberry flavor on the pallette.”

The winning names will be revealed between February 6 and 8 at the Viticulture 2013 conference in Rochester, NY.

“There are so many different flavors,” Mr. Reisch said. “Why shouldn’t people get excited about new varieties? They keep things interesting for the consumer and are often better for growers.”

Got name suggestions? Leave a comment below to let us know what your ideas are and don’t forget to copy and paste them in an email to Mr. Reisch at [email protected].

07/03/12 8:00am
07/03/2012 8:00 AM

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Salt at Shelter Island’s Island Boatyard opened “The Tasting Room” this week. Julia Hathaway pours a glass for proprietor Keith Bavaro. Jamesport Vineyards is partnering with Salt on this new venture.

Jamesport Vineyards brought the North Fork wine industry to the next level this weekend with its newest tasting room, a joint venture between the vineyard and Shelter Island’s new restaurant, Salt, located on the waterfront.

“This is the first tasting room you can reach by boat,” said Salt co-owner Keith Bavaro. “Opening weekend was fantastic. It was a big hit even though we haven’t done any advertising for it yet.”

Not only is the tasting room the first that can be accessed directly by boat, it’s also the first satellite tasting room on Shelter Island.

The genesis for the new tasting outlet occurred when Jamesport Vineyards owner Ron Goerler visited the restaurant with his retail manager, Jack Perdie. “[Mr. Bavaro] had a building that he wasn’t using,” Mr. Goerler said, “and he asked if we wanted to open a tasting room.”

He said the two looked at Mr. Bavaro as if he had two heads but agreed to look at the building anyway.

Once they saw the space, Mr. Goerler said everything began to “make sense.”

He said the waterfront view and the restaurant were just the icing on the cake. What really “made sense” to him was the island itself as an untapped resource for the wine industry.

“With our license we’re allowed to open up to five different locations under the Farm Winery Act,” Mr. Goerler said. “We felt that having a presence for Jamesport where restaurants support us is important because as business models change, retail continues to drive this all.”

Though the regular hours are still being worked out for the new tasting room, Mr. Bavaro said he expects it will be open from noon to 9 p.m. all week through the Fourth of July.

06/08/12 7:00am
06/08/2012 7:00 AM

Sherwood House Vineyards in Jamesport won four awards this week, including North Fork Winery of the Year, at last month’s New York International Wine Competition, according to a press release the company sent out this week.

The vineyard’s 2011 unoaked chardonnay, 2010 chardonnay and 2007 merlot won this year’s top awards among the 800 wines judged at the annual competition in Manhattan.

Barbara Smithen, owner of Sherwood House Vineyards, said in a press release that winning this year’s top award is one of the vineyard’s proudest achievements.

“For a little guy, we are thrilled to be recognized in such a big way by such a well-regarded, ‘in the field’ panel,” she said. “This award truly speaks to the quality of our wine at both the international and local level, and to the past 16 years of hard work behind it.”

Sherwood House Vineyards describes itself as one of the smaller wineries on Long Island because it produces about 2,800 cases of wine annually.

But the vineyard has still been able to win several awards over the years, including the Best in Class Award for its 2008 chardonnay at the 2011 LA International Wine Competition and a gold medal for its 2008 cabernet franc at the 2012 Critics Challenge International.

For more information about Sherwood House Vineyards, visit http://sherwoodhousevineyards.com/.

[email protected]

03/25/12 7:00am
03/25/2012 7:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Paumanok Vineyard winemaker Kareem Massoud.

Kareem Massoud has been the winemaker at the family-owned Paumanok Vineyards since 2001.

Paumanok has been an estate winery since 1990, when Ursula and Charles Massoud renovated and re-built a turn-of-the-century potato barn.

“I’m a second generation, homegrown winemaker. I learned the trade under my father’s tutelage,” Mr. Massoud said.

His father, Charles Massoud, is still a big part of making the wine at Paumanok, though the day-to-day responsibilities are Kareem Massoud’s, he said.

And now the eldest son at Paumanok has a big feather to stick in his winemaking cap.

Recently, Paumanok’s 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling was chosen as one of the Wall Street Journal’s “luxury dozen,” the top 12 bottles of wine in the nation chosen in an 800-bottle blind judging, chaired by British author and world-renowned wine writer, Hugh Johnson.

“We didn’t know it was a blind tasting of 800 wines until some of the marketing materials started coming back,” Kareem Massoud said, adding that being named one of the “luxury dozen” is most important because his family’s “sole mission in the vineyard and the cellar is about quality. It’s nice to be recognized for that.”

Because of 2010’s exceptionally dry and warm season, Paumanok’s riesling was picked a week or two earlier than normal — in mid-September, Mr. Massoud said. The semi-dry vintage was blended from the estate’s four separate riesling blocks, roughly 16 acres, he said.

“We have one block that was planted in 1983, two from the late 80s, and the most recent from ’05,” he said. The harvested blocks were fermented separately and later blended together. The process also included a mixture of different yeasts.

“The wine didn’t touch oak at all,” Mr. Massoud said. “It was fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks and given two or three months contact with the lees — relatively brief lees aging, where the wine is still in contact with the dead yeast cells that have settled at the bottom of the tank.” This method could add texture and volume to the wine, he said.

“The key thing to note about this wine is that we call it semi-dry, meaning there’s residual sugars in the wine,” he said, adding the wine has about 3 percent residual sugar, or 30 grams per liter, and about 8 and a half grams of acid per liter.

“It has a sweet attack where the wine is somewhat of a fruit cocktail, but finishes dry. It has a sort of stone fruit-driven character — peach, apricot and nectarine; a little bit of apple and pear-like character. Sometimes I get a little bit of a whiff of honey or honey blossom, but it has plenty of acidity. If it didn’t, you’d be left with a sort of sticky-sweet finish.”

The first riesling the vineyard produced was its 1990 Dry Riesling. The vineyard began producing semi-dry riesling two years later.

When asked what qualifications it takes to be a winemaker, Mr. Massoud said a degree is not among them.

“I think I’m living proof that you don’t need an oenology or viticulture degree to be a winemaker, though that certainly doesn’t hurt.” He said that if you have the right attitude, perseverance and a strong work ethic, you can do whatever you want to do in life, including winemaking. He added the job is also very demanding.

“We get a lot of people who say, ‘Oh, we want to do this, it seems so wonderful,’ and it is. I tell them all the romantic things are true, but it takes real blood, real sweat, real tears, real commitment, and it’s not for everyone.”

Some say Paumanok’s honor as one of the Wall Street Journal’s “luxury dozen” has put the Long Island region on the fine wine map, but Mr. Massoud said the region has already been on the map.

“This can only help bolster the perception that Long Island is a legitimate wine district that serious wine connoisseurs around the world should be familiarizing themselves with,” he said.

[email protected]