Dean Babiar: Jamesport Vineyards Winemaker

Dean Babiar: Jamesport Vineyards Winemaker

“For me, wine is very nostalgic,” says Dean Babier, the winemaker at Jamesport Vineyards. “When I revisit a wine that I’ve had at a certain place and time it’ll bring me back. It’s nice to be able to give people these pleasant sorts of memories from a place I consider home.” Jamesport Vineyards will be represented at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, held on July 18 at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton; as well as at Dan’s Harvest East End, the food-and-wine classic held at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on August 22. Here, Babiar discusses East End wine country and local culinary culture:

What are some of your wine-tasting tips?
Just drink it! Wine is made to be enjoyed. Try not to think about it too much. Try not think about anything too much.

What is the best pairing of food and East End wine?
Sauvignon blanc and oysters is the all-time classic pairing. For the red, I’d go with cabernet franc/merlot with grilled duck breast.

What drew you to work in the East End wine industry?
For me, wine is very nostalgic. When I revisit a wine that I’ve had at a certain place and time it’ll bring me back. It’s nice to be able to give people these pleasant sorts of memories from a place I consider home.

Describe the relationship between East End wine and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
Farmers, fishermen, wineries or restaurants all working together to give you a genuine sense of place. It’s rare to find in this country. Everything goes well together.

What was the moment that made you a true wine lover?
A collection of 1960–1990 Barolo and Barbaresco from my grandfather’s cellar. The old dusty bottles looked like some kind of rare hidden treasure, and they were.

What is the best thing you’ve ever heard anyone say about your wines?
“This is the best sauvignon blanc I’ve ever had in my life!”

Where do you see East End wines in five years?
Style will characterize the region. A reflection of the seasons; wines of finesse for the summer but still the intense wines to help pass the winter.

What key factors are helping East End wines increase in quality and reputation outside the region?
Every winery, everywhere in the world, will always be able to find slight improvements to make over time. The whole has to be greater than the sum of its parts. There’s no shortage of passionate people out here to help keep pushing this forward.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

Jamesport Vineyards, 1216 Main Road, Jamesport. 631-722-5256, jamesportwines.com

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