Our Picks of the Greatest of the Grapes and How to Paid ‘Em
Step aside, Napa. Move over, Finger Lakes. When it comes to diverse, exciting wine regions in the United States, few places can top the East End. Our wineries offer a second-to-none hospitality experience, surrounded by the sweeping coastal vistas that have made the Hamptons the preferred playground of the rich and famous. (Just add wine!) Here, six of our top picks from six of our most prestigious, enduring vineyards – plus how to pair them, whether you’re bringing a bottle to a BYOB or prepping a multi- course meal at home.
The Promising Beginning
Lieb Cellars Estate Sparkling Rosé, 13050 Oregon Rd., Cutchogue
With delicate bubbles and zesty acidity, this Pinot Noir-Chardonnay blend pays homage to Old World sparklers but brings juicy notes of raspberry and peach to the summertime party. It’s perfect as an aperitivo on the deck before the meal begins. We love it with juicy end-of-summer cantaloupe slices and paper-thin prosciutto, but it also stands proudly on its own; garnish each glass with a wedge of white peach and a plump raspberry or two for the ultimate summer cocktail (and next to no effort required).
The Standard Bearer
Sparkling Pointe 2011 Blanc de Blancs Magnum, 39750 County Rd. 48, Southold
When you’re ready to start the meal in earnest, reach for this super-sized bottle that will make you forget all about Champagne. With citrus, green apple and brioche aromas and fine bubbles softened by a five-year rest on the lees, this toasty, fizzy gem is just the thing to get the party started for real. Try it alongside a summery bruschetta of toasted bread topped with local tomatoes, a chiffonade of basil and minced garlic; the bubbles will cut through the heady garlic of the tomato mixture, while the yeast of the toasted bread highlights the wine’s richness.
The Dark Horse
Bridge Lane White Merlot, 35 Cox Neck Rd., Mattituck
Forget everything you know about the syrupy White Merlots of Sutter Home and reignite your love affair with this supple, citrusy wine that’s basically everything we love about summer fermented down into
one gorgeous glass. Whole cluster pressed with no skin contact, this wine brings bright grapefruit and aromas of mixed citrus and Fuji apple to the table, perfect with a crisp summer salad. It’s anything but basic, and an ideal complement to the late-summer produce you’ll want to dress with a touch of oil, a splash of vinegar, a chaste sprinkle of sea salt, a grind of fresh black pepper…and little else. Simple and perfect.
The Exclusive Escape
Shinn Estate 2017 Coalescence White Blend, 2000 Oregon Rd., Mattituck
Send your regards to all of the poor suckers stuck back in the city this summer, because this supple white
blend is not available for purchase in Manhattan or Brooklyn by any distributor, and must be acquired directly from the winery, a decades-long leader in sustainable viniculture on the East End. And all that experience shows! The thoughtful blend includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon and Pinot Blanc, and the result is nuanced and deep, perfect with a pasta course. (Bonus points for including local clams in a white wine broth, or succulent lobster braised in butter, which will nicely complement the richness of this wine.)
The Jazz Odyssey
Channing Daughters 2015 Ribolla Gialla, 1927 Scuttle Hole Rd., Bridgehampton
Take one expert producer, Channing Daughters. Add one unusual and delicious grape, northern Italian varietal Ribolla Gialla (“ree-BOWL- ah gee-AHH-lah”). Turn them loose in some of America’s most supple wine country, and watch them flourish. The result? This exceptionally aromatic wine, with flavors of yellow peaches, lemon curd and white flowers. The next time your wine-geek friend starts in on how orange wine is the next big thing, bust out this bottle and watch them swoon. We’re torn between a juicy pork chop or a flaky white fish for this one, but whichever you choose, consider a second bottle. This wine is unusual, rare, prized and – yes – that good.
The Big Finish
Wolffer Estate 2016 Fatalis Fatum, 139 Sagg Rd., Sagaponack
Mature vines yield mature wines, and Wölffer Estate has been coaxing exceptional fruit from the soils of the East End for more than 30 years. You’ll taste every moment of that experience in this deep, elegant red, with red brick color and velvety tannins that highlight the thoughtful, restrained use of oak. When you’re ready for a steak, you’re ready for a glass of this love letter to the boldest of American reds, from a most unexpected provenance: not Sonoma or even Santa Barbara, but the Hamptons. And of course, save a splash to complement a chunk of dark chocolate or some farm-fresh berries at the end of the meal. After all, a wine this good demands to be savored.