Reflections on the Inaugural Dan’s Rosé Soirée

Fun moments from the inaugural Dan's Rosé Soirée in 2017
Fun moments from the inaugural Dan's Rosé Soirée

Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by PORSCHE and Rock Angel After Party officially kicked off summer in the Hamptons on Sunday, May 28 at the Southampton Arts Center. Over 30 rosés were quaffed, and gourmet treats from across the East End and New York were tasted, savored, chomped and downed. A portion of the proceeds benefited WPPB 88.3 FM, Long Island’s only local National Public Radio (NPR) station.

Truly a good time was had by all, including participants, key East End winemakers Anthony Nappa and Alie Shaper, and Chef Charlie Chen of New York’s Pinch Chinese. Below are some of the ideas and fascinating facts that they discussed with attendees.

Winemaker Anthony Nappa has been a star of Long Island Wine Country for years—creating notable bottles for both Raphael in Peconic and his own North Fork label Anthony Nappa Wines. As he says, in addition to the East End, “In Provence, or better yet Monaco, rosé is a perfect accompaniment to summer: fresh, bright and quaffable.” Sounds about right. He says, “Our rosé’ is Pinot Noir, a pure delicious expression of the varietal.” He notes that Long Island wines are of “extremely high quality. We have achieved producing delicious wines in a broad range of styles at a great value.”

Nappa’s favorite dish to pair with a fine rosé is: “summer backyard grilling.” And he’s spoiled with the goodness of East End foods and wines, as his “wife Sarah is a chef and cooks very locally and seasonally. At our home farm, and through local friends, we eat almost exclusively locally grown meat, and vegetables, as well as fresh-caught seafood.”

What Long Island wines fill his home wine library? “Of course my wines and Raphael, Shinn Estate Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards, Lenz Winery, McCall Wines, Grapes of Roth, Leo Family Wines, Mattebella Vineyards and many more.”

Nappa stresses that consumers should seek out local produce and wine because “wine and food on the world market is a commodity, produced in factory farms, controlled by large corporations and imported cheaply. We can’t compete on price, but we can on quality. Every purchase of local wine and food keeps jobs in our community, money in our local economy and land in farming and out of development. So drink local wine and eat real food!”

Alie Shaper, President and Winemaker of Brooklyn Oenology and winemaker at Southold’s Croteaux Vineyards knows just what to do for a good time. As she says, “It’s the beginning of summer! I LOVE picnicking, it’s my favorite way to eat. If I could eat salami or prosciutto, with a delicious cheese, crusty French bread, fresh olives, and dried fruit and nuts with a robust rosé every day, I would.”

And, as she points out, “Our wine region is unique—we have seagulls in our vineyards! Our terroir is very distinctive from the rest of the United States, and so our winemakers have natural elements that enable us to make wines that are reflections of our land, our sea, our special place on the Atlantic and the wonderful way of life we have here. As winemakers we can embody the concept of “what we grow together, goes together”—and that wine IS food. Long Island wines are made to express and enhance the natural resources and agriculture that define the East End character—anyone out here knows that we’ve got killer seafood, meats, and produce right in our collective backyard! [In this] region winemakers have learned how to craft wines that work with our particular local food and culture—and isn’t it awesome that the East End has it’s own special place in the wine universe?”

Shaper brought “the concept of ageable rosés” to Rosé Soirée. As she says, “Contrary to popular opinion, rosé can age well beyond its first year in the bottle! It’s not true of every rosé, but, with the right composition and vinification methods, they can last for two, three, five and, rarely, up to 10 years. I’ve tasted many rosés that have reached their peak flavor in their second and third years.”

If Shaper got a tattoo tomorrow it would show: “a backplate, depicting the entire morphology of a grapevine, ‘growing’ across my back and shoulders.”

Popular New York restaurant, Pinch Chinese’s chef Charlie Chen has a unique view of American cuisine as, “having just moved to New York, I haven’t had a chance to explore Long Island wines, which is why I was so excited to participate in Dan’s Rosé Soirée!” He says, “I love pairing our House Special Shrimp with a 2016 Hermann J. Wiemer dry rosé. The sweetness of the shrimp and peppers, with the hint of spice in our kung pao, are accentuated by the fruit qualities of the wine: strawberries, white peach and currants. I grew up in Xiao Wan village in the province of Anhui during a period when many Chinese people, like my parents, struggled to find enough food to eat every day. In fact, I often went into the mountains with my parents and three siblings to look for anything edible. This daily battle for sustenance is what inspired my culinary career. I wanted to ensure my friends and family would never go hungry again.”

Chen asserts that chefs and farmers have a lot in common in that both are a little crazy and overworked, noting, “I work non-stop every day, but it’s something that I’ve been passionate about for so long, so it has never really felt like work. I’m sure farmers feel the same way about growing their produce and tending to their lands.

Why should consumers seek out local produce and wine? Chen says, “It’s always fresher and more vibrant than anything shipped in from a distance. In China, I only shop at the local green markets, almost never at the supermarkets, and I encourage my staff and guests to do the same. This will be my first summer in New York (and America), and I’m still discovering all the wonderful local ingredients available. I can’t wait to visit the green market when it’s back in full swing!” There are so many wonderful [types of] local produce from China that I can’t find here, but I’m so excited to be experiencing all these wonderful new ingredients. I hope to begin introducing them into my cuisine in the near future.

If Chen got a tattoo tomorrow it would depict: “A bull. Something that represents strength and passion and a desire to continue improving every day.”

Chen points out that he could create a fine meal with just these five ingredients: “fresh local fish, ginger, scallion, garlic, vinegar. The perfect summer treat.”

Find the latest info on all of Dan’s Taste of Summer upcoming events this summer—the new Dan’s Corona MonTaco presented by Don Julio at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Adam Richman, Travel Channel host, author, food & travel explorer on July 7; Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, back for its second summer on July 8; Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda (July 21), celebrating its 5th anniversary; and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Co. (July 22), now in its 7th year—at Follow Dan’s Taste of Summer on Facebook, on Twitter @DansTOS17 and Instagram @DansTasteofSummer. Event Hashtags: #DansTOS, #RoseSoiree, #MonTaco, #ClambakeMTK, #GrillHampton and #TasteofTwoForks.

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