Local Profile: Wölffer Kitchen

You know the brand from their wines, new get familiar with the Wölffer Estate’s restaurant in Sag Harbor

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More than just a source of reds and whites, the Wölffer Estate is a possibility for nightlife, events and even equestrian doings— as well as Wölffer Kitchen, its Sag Harbor restaurant where modern cuisine rules. Does Wölffer wine inspire its Kitchen food? Estate Marketing Director Jill Heisler explains how goes their gastro.

It wasn’t that long ago that your spot was home to The Cuddy, and Phao before that— are you still encountering people surprised to find Wölffer at 29 Main Street?

It’s a competitive address, as Main Street has evolved into a Hamptons version of Restaurant Row. But Wölffer Kitchen, which has both style and substance, is a healthy addition to the saturated market.

The Wölffer name is easily recognized as related to wine—has there been any challenge establishing your spot as a food-first, wine-next eatery?

Our restaurant has been well-received because people already know us for our wines. When
it comes to food, we pay attention to using the very best ingredients. Everything is made from scratch and sourced from local purveyors whenever possible.

Could you give us a general feel on how your menu is formed?

Modern American cuisine with a distinctively Mediterranean flare and a focus on fresh, local ingredients. When writing the menu and specials, Chef Brian Cheewing tries to create food that pairs well with the wine. The wines are all very food-friendly. He likes to keep the food simple, clean and bright. Not to complicate things and let the high quality ingredients speak for themselves.

Specialties of the house this summer include our extensive raw bar featuring local shell fish and crudo. Other summer offerings are: our heirloom tomato panzanella salad, local watermelon and feta, local wild striped bass with corn and summer vegetable succotash, veal chop Milanese with heirloom tomato, and local arugula and aged balsamic.

Your wine list goes way beyond the Wölffer brand—is it difficult to choose wines from other vintners when your company is “rooted” in its own vineyards?

Wölffer Estate Winemaker and Partner Roman Roth designed the wine list. We serve wines from the vineyard and other artisanal Long Island producers, as well as favorites from around the world. Choosing wines from other vintners was easy. There are so many amazing, world-class wines on Long Island, in particular, where we have ideal weather conditions for ripening, on top of an exceptional level of talented vintners.

It’s time to give those local wines of yours some shine: of all the Wölffer reds you carry, which would you recommend, and what dinner dish would you pair with it?

Our Bordeaux-style Fatalis Fatum Red Blend is a favorite. The 2013 vintage was especially blessed and could be compared to what 1945 was for Bordeaux. Because of the variety in the blend, matching food offers considerable scope of successful options. Pair it with classic robust beef like a Côte de Boeuf, or game and lamb roasts or stews.

How about a Wölffer white?

Our new raw bar is very popular—it features local oysters, clams, lobster, and different chilled seafood delights. Enjoy it with either our Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Sparkling Rosé or Wölffer Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

Now that you’ve been in town for a year or so, you’ve seen all the many events that happen in Sag—if you could recommend one day that one must visit, which would you choose? And what dish on the Wölffer menu would you recommend one have on that special day, and paired wine too, of course.

I’d say the vineyard’s annual Harvest Party in October is a favorite event of the year. It’s family friendly—with a delicious fall feast, grape- stomping, barrel-rolling, a winemaking relay race, a petting zoo, pony rides, face-painting and more. It’s really a celebration of a new growing season and represents everything that we stand for. And it’s a great time to drink our Wölffer No 139 Dry Rose cider.