Do You Want to Know a Secret?
Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell? No, this is not a Beatle song. It is about the liquid poetry found
within the music of Long Island wine. Sure, you are familiar with the marvelous merlots, captivating cabernets, scintillating chardonnays and scandalous sauvignon blancs. But what about a grape which has now come of age on Long Island? Its vines are mature and produce a wine of distinction right here on our own Long Island? Bordeaux has used this varietal as a blending grape in many of its wines for years. Today, many areas around the world are growing and bottling it alone or as the featured attraction within the bottle. It is cabernet franc. Two Long Island wineries have been successful with this varietal. Jamesport Vineyards has received great praise for their wines especially their cabernet franc. This is a 90% blend of cabernet franc, 5% cabernet sauvignon and 5% merlot. There is a supple texture from this dark ruby wine redolent of strawberries and subtle smoke. Gastronomic delights with an earth tone go well with this wine. A basil or rosemary roasted chicken would work seamlessly or maybe a mushroom sauce in brown gravy accompanied by roasted fresh asparagus which had drizzled olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh pepper. Laurel Lake is another winner of a winery. Their cabernet franc explodes in the mouth with a spicy apple cinnamon flavor laced with toasted cedar and hints of white pepper. A light veal scaloppini made with bread crumbs with light Locatelli cheese sprinkled on it accompanied by sautéed broccolini in garlic and olive oil with rosemary sliced roasted potatoes is heaven.
My appetite seems to be growing at this moment.
If you live in the New York Tri-state area you should feel blessed, especially if you enjoy wine. We have our own wine country. Our paradise is just an hour or two from wherever you live in our region. Come explore and enjoy this pastoral setting where the fruit of the vine rules. The wineries mentioned earlier will provide a wonderful escape from the prosaic life of city living. Jamesport Vineyard has been growing grapes since 1981. Ron Goerler, Sr. decided in 1985 to finally make his own wine instead of just providing grapes for the other early wineries. He enlisted his son Ron Goerler, Jr. to be the viticulturist and winemaker. As time went by Ron Jr. found that his great love for managing the vineyards became very demanding. So, he enlisted the aid of Les Howard to be his winemaker freeing him to create beautiful grapes in the vineyard. What a great decision that was! These two gentlemen have produced heaven in a bottle. The all too familiar saying that great wine begins in the vineyard bears fruit with Jamesport Vineyard. This winery has won numerous medals and has been awarded best red wine of New York State for two out of the last four years with their Cabernet Franc. But you must visit them to appreciate their value as a winery.
Laurel Lake Vineyards is a similar yet totally different story. This winery also began early in 1980 with 21 acres and years later expanded by another 10 acres. Laurel Lake is one of the oldest vineyards on the North Fork. With highly praised Chardonnays, it has added to its merits Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and special selection called Credence. The tasting room has an antique bar and gift shop, as well as an expansive deck with picnic tables overlooking the vineyard. Laurel Lake Vineyards is owned by a group of Chilean winegrowers, Francisco Gillmore and Alejandro Parot, a world-renowned oenologist from Chile, who studied winemaking techniques in France. They teamed up with Juan Sepulveda, a Chilean wine maker to continue their Long Island history. Juan is not only knowledgeable but charming as well. When you visit Laurel Lake please be sure to ask for his special private tour of the vineyards and winery. Call ahead to reserve your time. His English is only excelled by the taste of his wines.
Long Island Wine Country is a wonderful destination. Treat yourself and your family to a wondrous exploration of what the East End of Long Island has to offer. It is slowly but surely morphing into a focal point for people who absolutely love food and wine, especially the local variety.
After all, I know what you should put into your mouth. I am not
only a wine writer but a dentist as well.
In Long Island Vino Veritas, Harvey Passes, D.D.S.
Dr. Harvey Passes is a Renaissance man who has had a broad history in wine, food, health science and television. He served as a wine writer, co-editor and co-publisher of New York’s Metropolitan Wine Review. In the past few years, there has been a large focus on food and wine from the more than 250 Cablevision shows which he produced and hosts called Dr. Harvey Passes Presents… This fall PBS will broadcast his new show Wine Country: Signature of a Region.
This program will explore various regions’ food and wine and how it relates to the culture of its people. His vinous and gustatory adventures in New Zealand will be the region for his first show. He has written and voiced numerous radio commercials for various businesses. Dr. Passes is also a dentist who pioneered and developed one of the lasers used in dentistry as well as alleviating the fear in going to the dentist. General and cosmetic dentistry utilizing advanced techniques with old-fashioned listening, caring and explaining have been the hallmark of his Great Neck practice. Dr. Passes functions as master of ceremonies for numerous philanthropic food and wine events including The Great Chefs of Long Island and The New York Guild of Chefs. These benefits help raise money for various needs on Long Island. He is a strong advocate for all that is Long Island.
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