Dan’s Rosé Soirée Countdown: Clovis Point Winemaker John Leo

John Leo, Clovis Point
John Leo, Clovis Point

Meet Clovis Point Winemaker John Leo and try some of his wines at Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on Sunday, May 27 from 5–8 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center. Leo is originally from the Hudson Valley. We know that he has fully adapted to life on the East End because, when asked for a wine pairing recommendation, he suggested: “Rosé with…EVERYTHING!”

What’s your earliest wine-related memory?
Being allowed to sip a mix of my grandfather’s homemade red wine with cream soda at the Sunday dinner table.

How does living on the East End inform your winemaking?
Living among the vineyards, waters and villages of the East End offers inspiration, and the local cuisine offers guidance. Of course, the terroir of the vineyards I work with, including the varietals planted, direct the winemaking.

When did you begin to truly appreciate wine?
During my time studying and enjoying life in Madrid, Spain.

What moment inspired your career the most?
Enjoying a bottle of wine with friends at a café in Madrid as a teenager and realizing that wine was a food that enhanced a meal, conversation and friendship.

What is it about rosé that has so captured the imagination here on the East End?
The summer season is when the East End image is created. So the beaches, barbeques, and social events of summer call for a fresh, bright, easy-to-drink beverage to enjoy. Rosé fits the bill.

What’s special about Long Island wine?
The East End offers a truly wonderful terroir for grape growing. And our skills as grape growers and winemakers has grown tremendously, year by year. Our best wines can sit with pride on any wine lover’s table, anywhere in the world.

Do you ever drink at your own winery on your days off? If so, what have you learned while there?
While visiting the tasting room I’ve learned that many visitors appreciate good wine. They’re discerning; and they’ll reward all the work and time we put into making our wines.

What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of winemakers?
Trust your own taste, and be honest with yourself—especially about the wines you’re making and blending.

What’s your favorite wine to take on an East End picnic?
For a summer afternoon picnic, a Clovis Point cabernet franc to enjoy with fresh grilled fish or spicy chicken legs.

How do you like to spend your “off time” here on the East End?
Enjoying wine with friends, a daily swim and frequent strolls through the vineyards. If you learn to appreciate a bottle of East End wine with a loved one, you’ll also appreciate what living local is all about.

What else would you like our readers to know about dining, and drinking, on the East End this summer?
Be adventurous and open-minded. You will find an amazing variety of good local foods and wines to give you pleasure.

Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center. GA tickets are $140. VIP tickets are $190 and include event entry from 5 to 8 p.m. PLUS access to the Rosé After Dark VIP After Party Presented by The Palm by Whispering Angel, from 8 to 10 p.m. For tickets and more information about all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.

Read more about more about Dan’s Taste of Summer and Rosé Soirée.

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