Located just past Greenport’s business district is a North Fork Wine Country first. The newly opened Kontokosta Winery is the region’s only tasting room and winery located on the Long Island Sound. Family-owned, sustainable and environmentally conscious, Kontokosta Winery delivers the best of North Fork pours.
When you pull up to the tasting room, you find that the weathered, 19th century-styled barn contrasts its rustic-chic façade with a modern, edgy interior. The tasting room was constructed with 90% recycled steel and wood, making it one of the few wineries in North America designed to be LEED gold-certified. The space is airy and open with long wooden tables stretched across the room, each flanked with structured chairs. An expansive wall of windows that looks out onto the Sound provides a lot of natural light.
Owned by brothers Michael and Constantine Kontokosta, the winery boasts 62 acres of grapes. The first grapes, which included Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, were planted in 2002 on 23 acres. Four years later, the first Kontokosta wine was bottled. Now, this year, the masses are able to enjoy the fruits of Kontokosta’s labor. The tasting room opened earlier this summer.
The day I went to Kontokosta was a beautiful one. My parents and I were not only impressed with how expansive the tasting room was, but also by the breathtaking view. We were greeted by our tour guide for the afternoon, Miles, and we sat at one of the long tables. Later, the general manager, Polly, confessed to us that she “stole him” from a restaurant in the city. This was sort of true; he’s a sommelier for a few restaurants in Manhattan and comes out east for the summer—we knew we were in good hands. Miles started us off with the whites. First was the Anemometer White, which is a blend of different Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Their Anemometer Red is a combination of Syrah grapes. Both, he explained, are great everyday drinking wines because they are not too heavy or complex. I would have to agree.
Then it was onto the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, which is Kontokosta’s bestseller. It was very refreshing and crisp with notes of citrus. The chardonnay we had next was different from other chardonnays I’ve tasted, as it was more light and dry than oaky and buttery. My mother’s favorite, and mine, was the Viognier because of its slight sweetness and unique apple flavor.
When we moved onto the reds, there was definitely a progression in depth and flavor. Miles showed us how to discern a wine’s taste before sipping. Tip your glass, and look at the color gradient in the wine. If the color changes toward the edge, it’s going to be a lighter red. If it consistently stays the same color, then it will be deeper in flavor. My favorite, hands down, was the Cabernet Franc. It was complex and fruity.
After our tasting, Miles offered to take us downstairs, which is where the magic happens. The fermentation room is modern and up-to-date. He explained the whole process from start to finish. I always find it fascinating to see the huge steel machines and saturated wooden barrels.
Miles was kind enough to let us sample some of the 2013 Pinot Noir straight from the barrel. It obviously isn’t quite ready yet, but it already tasted fabulous. After that, we took a walk outside to get a good look at the gorgeous view, which is reason enough to visit the winery.
Kontokosta wines are only available at the winery, which means that I’ll be back soon.
Kontokosta Winery, 825 North Road, Greenport, 631-477-6977, kontokostawinery.com