Let’s Celebrate and Drink Pink
Few things have captured the public imagination more vividly in recent years than rosé. Consider the phenomena that followed as soon as wine lovers realized there was more to drinking pink than abby White Zinfandel: “rosé all day” (an excuse for a glass with breakfast if e’er we heard one); “brosé” (because pink wine isn’t just for the ladies); even “frosé” (which, trust us: if you haven’t tried it, do it.)
Yes, it seems that rosé is here to stay, and especially on the East End, that’s a very, very good thing. After all, what would you rather drink on a hot summer’s afternoon among the vines? Nothing, that’s what. It’s the perfect beverage when the mercury hits 70+ degrees.
This summer, for the second year in a row, four of Long Island’s top wineries have come together to present the #NorthForkRoséCrawl on Saturday, June 10th. It’s a playful, self-guided tour of all four wineries, with fun goings-on at each stop along the way. Oh, and of course: plenty of rosé. We recommend a designated driver – a friend with the iron constitution to resist pink wine on a summer Saturday or a hired hand, your choice! – and plenty of time to enjoy the scenery at each stop as you sip and slurp your way through four very different, very delicious New York rosés. There’s no restriction on how you make the circuit, but we suggest starting in the west and heading towards the end of the island (the better to catch the rosé- colored sunset at Orient Point at the end of the day, my dear).
Back in 1978, winery namesake Martha Clara Entenmann’s son, Robert, purchased a parcel of land near the end of Long Island that was being used as a potato farm. Intending to raise thoroughbred horses, he soon realized the potential of the plot for viticulture, and Martha Clara Vineyard (6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead) was born, named for his mother. A specialist in fresh, drinkable wines that pair with any season, Martha Clara produces a 2016 Solstice rosé that’s aged sur lie and bottled with just a touch of residual sugar for agreeable fullness . For the Crawl, it’s matched by a special cheese pairing exclusive to the event. It’s a hearty snack for your first stop and a perfect way to begin your rosé day.
Few Long Island wineries enjoy the long- distance recognition of exceptional Bridge Lane by Lieb Cellars (35 Cox Neck Rd., Mattituck), a second label from one of the region’s best- regarded wineries. Bridge Lane’s wines are a counterpoint to the elegant, age-worthy wines of Lieb, with fresh, fruit-forward flavors that are best enjoyed straightaway. The 2016 rosé is no exception; Cabernet Franc-based, it opens with notes of guava and peach blossom that give way to bold flavors of strawberry and watermelon. Just in case that’s not enough tempting summer fruit, rosé cocktails will also be available to purchase on site. Turn it up a notch at this second stop, then pack it in for the longest interval of the trip as you journey east and north to Peconic.
When restaurateurs Peter and Patricia Lenz shuttered their respected restaurant, A Moveable Feast, in 1977, they knew they were ready for a new adventure. Winemaking was it: they purchased a property and planted Old World varietals such as Gewürtztraminer and Pinot Noir. Lenz Winery (Rt. 25, Main Rd., Peconic) was born, but for years they waited, following European tradition by cutting off the fruit just as it formed to ensure a deeper root structure for their vines. The result is some of the region’s hardiest and most prolific root stock, producing exceptional fruit that owners Peter and Deborah Carroll, who purchased the property in 1994, transform into potent potables. In blind tastings against some of France’s nest, winemaker Eric Fry’s juice holds its own, and his 2015 Blanc de Noir rosé shows why: with notes of white and red cherries, this steel-fermented beauty is the epitome of elegance. During the Crawl, it will be paired with a surprise treat (sorry, we can’t say more, and no peeking!)
Sheltered by Long Island Sound on one side and Peconic Bay on the other, Osprey’s Dominion (44075 Main Rd., Peconic) is located at just about the same latitude as the great wine regions of France, but boasts a terroir distinct to Long Island. Their minimally manipulated wines are a testament to their unique place on earth, crafted by artful winemaker Adam Suprenant. His 2016 rosé is essentially a light red wine, made in an off-dry style that will suit you at the conclusions of your Crawl and pairs beautifully with the winery’s planned rosé- themed treat thanks to raspberry and red cherry flavors. Hellooooooo, dessert! A perfect end to a perfect day.