The sun warmed the field. The breeze cooled us off on a hot early summer day. The hum of gathering crowd was sprinkled with laughter. The aroma of the food being prepared and cooked on grills off the side field was intoxicating. There was well over 40 wines for those in attendance to taste on this night at Roanoke Vineyards.
The First Annual Long Island Wine and Food Festival was off to a great start. We were offered generous tastings of some of the best Long Island wines and some that have not been released yet. There was alot of rose and alot of Sauvignon blanc in people’s glasses. It was a night perfect for both. Everyone with glass in hand was waiting for the food to be served.
At the event, you saw Les Howard chatting away with folks wishing him all the best at Raphael. There was Gilles Martin of Sparkling Pointe and Sherwood House and Miguel Martin of Palmer Vineyards sharing stories. There was Ron Goerler from Jamesport Vineyards telling stories of the current growing season and of season past. There was Pindar and Jason Damianos sharing stories and enjoying the evening. Nicole Damianos talking with Melissa, my wife about pregnancy. There was Juan Micieli-Martinez, winemaker at Martha Claraand his wife Bridget, from Palmer Vineyards chatting with Robin Epperson, assistant winemaker at Martha Clara and Alie Sharper from Brooklyn Oenology. And George Casso, assistant winemaker at Waters Crest and one of the many organizers who put this together, chatting with everyone and making sure the night was going smoothly. And the trusty Adam Ehmer was there making sure my wife had a glass of Verjus.
It was a who’s who of the North Fork Wine Industry gathering — a group of people who care about the Long Island wine industry and there were the enthusiast who love the wine and the food of Long Island. Too see it all come together was fantastic and special. Ron Goerler was talking to me at one point explaing that this is how it used to be — Everyone gathering for a BBQ, talking about wine and what they were doing in the vineyard. I wondered why things changed.
Tom Schaudel of A Mano Osteria & Wine Bar was the chef behind the local food that was pared nicely with all the local wine. There was fresh oysters and fresh summer salads, the golden beet salad was delicious. There was kielbasa, lasagna, corn on the cob and my favorite of the night, duck chili. There was sliders that were good, from what I heard. I missed out on them. And apparently there was some kabab, that I never saw, but Les Howard ate the last one.
Richard Pisacano, owner of Roanoke Vineyards and vineyard manager at Wolffer Estate Vineyards went around with a big smile welcoming everyone and wishing everyone a great time. Jim Waters of Waters Crest Winerey, one of the organizers behind the Festival, made sure everyone was enjoying the evening of food and wine.
Melissa and I sat and relaxed. I was prepared to do some blogging and some chatting. I decided to chat and listen to the stories instead — meet some people I have not met yet — chat with some people I have not seen in a while. I did some tweeting and I took some notes, but most of all, I enjoyed the company that Melissa and I were around.
Some of the wines that impressed me that night were wines I have not had before, some were just realised and some I have not had a chance to find and taste. So here is a quick view into my tasting notes:
- Waters Crest 2009 Riesling: lime and citru with great acidity and grapefruit pith notes. Some granny smith apple. Zippy and refreshing.
- Brooklyn Oenology 2007 Viognier: Floral, white peach, kiwi. Nutmeg and more kiwi on palate with some honeydew melon and some citrus.
- One Woman Winery 2007 Gewürztraminer: Rose petals and lychee. More floral and perfume. Spicy with some baking spice notes.
- Duck Walk Vineyards 2009 Rose: Strawberry and raspberry subtle herb note. Nice acidity. Citrus blast and watermelon.
- Martha Clara Vineyards 2009 So Vin Yon Blonk: It’s all Sauvignon Blanc, don’t let the name confuse you. Lemon grass and herb with grapefruit. Bright and Clean. Great acidity and finish of citrus zest.
As the sun was setting in the west we looked south over Gabby’s block of Cabernet Franc and notice para gliders and a beautiful strawberry moon — thanks Juan for pointing that out. The sun set and the full moon shined. But what shined brightest that night, above the laughter and conversations – the people who made this happen. The organizers and those that love Long Island and all that this great wine region has to offer.
This weekend long event is one that I hope continues. It is a great way to kick off the Long Island Summer Season and showcase Long Island as a destination of food, wine and people. I look forward to the next Strawberry moon and the next Long Island Wine and Food Festival.