Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Juan Micieli-Martinez, Martha Clara Vineyards

Martha Clara winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez
Martha Clara winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez, Photo: 91East Productions

Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, will be held on Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. Martha Clara Vineyards winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez will be in the middle of the action—he’s looking forward to “sharing with people the bounty that is the East End.” As he says, “We live in a very special, delicate, and interesting place.”

What fuels your creativity as a winemaker?
I’m inspired by drinking wines from other producers locally, in other parts of New York State, and various parts of the world. Having had the opportunity to travel to international wine shows such as ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany, and The London Wine Fair in England also serve as influences.

What’s unique about the specific terroir of your vineyards?
Martha Clara Vineyards is situated in the Northville Agricultural District at the base of the outwash plain formed by Harbor Hill Terminal Moraine. Our area possesses a unique balance between the land and maritime influence. In addition, our vineyard is relatively flat, resulting in equal ripening in our vineyard blocks.

Which of your wines would you most like to serve to another winemaker?
In general I would likely serve wines that are “works in progress” such as our new orange wine. I’m not a particular fan of the style, but I figured it would be interesting to try it for myself. I’m still evaluating my thoughts on my attempt at this ancient style of winemaking, and I would encourage collegial discourse with another winemaker about the style and my attempt in particular.

What’s your favorite pairing of local wine and food?
Local bubbles and local oysters are a favorite of mine. Our favorite seafood mongers are the folks at Cor-J in Hampton Bays. We’ll go there and buy a half dozen of the typical three selections that they have. The oysters will come from different waters located around Long Island. It’s interesting to investigate the terroir of our local aquaculture paired with our local, amazing wines.

Which Long Island wines are most undervalued?
Our great Chardonnays are overlooked. We achieve wonderful ripeness with well-balanced acidity and flavor. Many are quick to disregard Chardonnay, but it’s a wonderful varietal and a value.

What’s the next frontier in Long Island winemaking?
The next frontier is us, here on Long Island, starting to more specifically define our terroir. We need to further investigate mesoclimate. We know lots about our macroclimate and microclimate, but we need to define the subtle differences that exist from Northville to Mattituck, Jamesport, Cutchogue, Southold, etc.

Please complete this sentence: I could survive on a desert island if I just had the music of Nile Rodgers, a well stocked wine fridge and lots of kale!

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on Friday, July 22, and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox, 19 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton. New to the lineup this year is the oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, 290 Old Montauk Highway in Montauk on July 30. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the series on August 20 at McCall Vineyard and Ranch, 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue. For tickets and more information on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com.

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