Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Roman Roth, Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Roman Roth, the Wölffer Estate Vineyard partner and winemaker.
Roman Roth, the Wölffer Estate Vineyard partner and winemaker. Photo: Conor Harrigan

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. Wölffer Estate Vineyard Winemaker and Partner Roman Roth has been a big supporter of the annual Harvest event since he helped to create it in 2010. As a German, celebrating the harvest runs deep in his blood. Roth offers readers an insider trading tip: “Buy as many cases of the 2013 Long Island’s top red wines as you can. You will be a very happy person in 10, 20, 30 years!”

What fuels your creativity as a winemaker?
I think the fuel is to be able to be excitable! Paired with a keen understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the grapes we grow and of the different vintages, this gives me a great foundation to be very creative. Also it’s important to be able to enjoy making traditional wines while being open to new ideas and techniques.

What’s unique about the specific terroir of your vineyards?
We have the Bridgehampton Loam—a wonderful clay, loam and silt mix that’s on top of sand. This soil has a great pH to grow grapes and also has good water-holding capacity, while providing good drainage. We are 2.6 miles from the Atlantic, which provides a wonderful moderation to the temperature—protecting our vines in winter and giving elegance and balance to our wines.

We’re on the same latitude as Madrid (Spain) and Naples (Italy), giving us fantastic sunlight to ripen our fruit.

Which of your wines would you most like to serve to another winemaker?
I’m very proud of all my wines (they are all my “children”). But If I have to pick, I would say our Grandioso Rosé, the Perle Chardonnay, the Grapes of Roth Merlot and the Christian Cuvée (the top of our Wölffer lineup).

Are there local ingredients that you use in any of your wines, in addition to grapes?
The answer is no. We’re working hard to make pure, fruit-driven and elegant wines so all we need is to capture our unique fruit. However, our gin is mainly flavored with our own juniper berries that grow around the winery.

What’s your local beverage, or cocktail, of choice this season?
I love the local sparkling wines, I certainly go for a beer from one of our local breweries, and a good Manhattan is always a classic treat.

How do you feel about using wines in cocktails?
I think good wine should be enjoyed on its own. We make a wonderful non-alcoholic verjus (green juice) that is fantastic as a spritzer or in cocktails. Also, our Wölffer ciders are wonderful when used by a creative cocktail maker.

What’s your favorite pairing of local wine and food?
Striped bass with our Perle Chardonnay; Oysters with our Sparkling Rosé Extra Brut (or the Grapes of Roth Riesling) and locally grown or foraged mushroom risotto with our cabernet franc

What are some of your favorite East End restaurants?
There are too many to list. Every restaurant has its own style and is enjoyable for different occasions.

Which Long Island wines are most undervalued?
Our high-end, very quality-focused wines that in blind tastings stand up to the best in the world are the most undervalued wines. We’re just releasing our 2013 Wölffer White Horse (Reserve) Reds and they will be for Long Island what 1945 was for Bordeaux—outstanding!

What’s the next frontier in Long Island winemaking?
To prove to the world that we are making wines with longevity. Our top whites can age 20 years, our top reds 25 to 30 and our dessert wines up to 50 years.

Please complete this sentence: If money were no object, I would make wine the national prescribed “free” medicine (a glass a day keeps the doctor away!).

What are you most looking forward to at Dan’s Harvest East End?
Sharing with pride our wonderful wines to many consumers who are still new to the fantastic wines that are made at Wölffer and elsewhere on Long Island.

Please complete this sentence: I could survive on a desert island if I just had: fish, a cow (for milk and to make cheese) wild boars, wheat to make bread, heirloom tomatoes, and some great sparkling wines or Champagnes.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton hosted by Adam Richman on Friday, July 22 and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton. VIP tickets for GrillHampton are $185 and offer early access to the event beginning at 7 p.m. General Admission, from 8 p.m.–10:30 p.m., is $135. VIP tickets for Taste of Two Forks are $295 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $185.

The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphy and Eden Grinshpan premieres on Saturday, July 30. General Admission for ClambakeMTK, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $150. VIP tickets are $250, and include access to the after-party from 10 p.m.–12 a.m.

Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. VIP tickets for Harvest East End are $285 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $135.

A portion of this year’s ticket proceeds from GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE), a 501(c)(3) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five

East End towns. A portion of proceeds from Harvest East End benefits Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare.

To purchase tickets and get more info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com!

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