In the fall, the North Fork sparkles. Some say it’s the special seaside light, others say it’s the ocean breeze rustling the fall foliage.
But those in the know say it’s the wine—some of which actually sparkles. And what better way to start a sparkling fall North Fork wine tour than at Sparkling Pointe on the North Road in Southold, where they specialize in sparkling wines.
“Right now is a good time to come in and do a nice comparative tasting,” says Sparkling Pointe’s general manager Mike Falcetta. “Get a tasting of our new Blanc de Blancs Seduction, which is 100% Chardonnay lightly oaked in French oak, alongside a tasting of the Blanc de Noirs Seduction, which is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It’s a fun tasting to do.” Then again, you could order a full pour of both of these premium sparklers, if that’s how you roll!
Speaking of contrasts, Sparkling Pointe’s tasting department has put together a unique tasting menu, available anytime. It pairs their sparkling wines with…wait for it…chocolate! “We’ve teamed up with Vosges artisanal chocolates to offer tastings of our wines with their exotic chocolate bars,” says Falcetta. If the combination doesn’t strike you immediately as a match made in Heaven, consider: one of the exotic chocolate bars involved has bacon in it. Champagne, chocolate and bacon. Heaven is in your mind!
Then a much more classic combination is being celebrated at Sparkling Pointe this Sunday, September 30 when they host their Local Oyster Showcase. Local oyster farms like Harvest Moon Shellfish, Peconic Gold and Thatch Island will be bringing their raw oysters; local restaurants like First and South, the Frisky Oyster and the North Fork Shack will bring some tasty oyster preparations; and, of course, Sparkling Pointe has the bubbly. “It’s the most traditional pairing of all,” says Falcetta. Tickets are available for this event at sparklingpointe.com.
Meanwhile, over in Peconic, Pindar Vineyards looms as one of the oldest and largest vineyards on the East End. When Pindar parties to celebrate the harvest, it’s free, everyone’s invited and no reservations are needed! This year’s Rock the Harvest party at Pindar takes place Saturday, October 13 from noon to 5 p.m. Enjoy live music from the 3Bs! And naturally there will be plenty of wine available for purchase, along with food from Crazy Crepe and Weenie Panini.
Now, while everyone loves a Weenie Panini (it’s a panini with a frankfurter inside!), there are those among us who occasionally look for a more elegant, intimate affair. Pindar’s got those people covered, too, with the return of their special Champagne, Chopin and Caviar tours every Saturday and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m., in November. Watch a demo of the final stages of making Champagne, enjoy a glass of Pindar’s premium Cuvée Rare sparkling, and sample hors d’oeuvres—including, we presume, some with caviar. Paid reservations are required, and can be made at pindar.net.
Right down the road from Pindar at Raphael, they’re also celebrating the harvest—that is, if you can call the hard work of picking grapes a celebration. “We just started harvesting last week, which is pretty exciting,” says Raphael’s Diandra Schultz. “So far we’ve brought in our Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and some Sauvignon Blanc.” So maybe now would be a great time to book a tour of Raphael’s expansive acreage to see how their delicious wine gets made. Paid reservations are necessary, and the tour winds up back at the tasting room with a glass of wine paired with antipasti.
A more casual visit to Raphael can be great, too. They have a regular schedule of live music on offer. Check out the calendar and book a tour at raphaelwine.com.
Also in Peconic is Osprey’s Dominion, where, in addition to quality wines, they cultivate a wine festival atmosphere on their ample property every weekend through October. “Osprey’s Dominion will have live music every Saturday and Sunday through October starting at 1 p.m.,” says Osprey’s Peter Carey. “Folks can check our events calendar on our website to see who’s performing.” The bands set up outside, weather permitting, and there’s plenty of room to dance. Of course, it’s not all play at Osprey’s Dominion at harvest time. “Harvesting began September 20 with our Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer and continues through October,” says Carey. It’s always nice to know someone’s working hard to make sure we get our tasty North Fork wine. Just contemplating it makes us thirsty!
Further west, the festivities continue at Martha Clara Vineyards in Northville. Martha Clara has long been known for its happy hour-style conviviality as well as its good wine—its tasting room conveying a decided party atmosphere rather than the studious tone found at some other vineyards. But Martha Clara, which was recently acquired by the Mexican Rivero-González winemaking family, is undergoing some changes. They appear to be cleaning house—they’re holding a Wine Cellar Estate Sale on October 6 and 7 from 11 to 3 p.m., where library wines (that is, older vintages that the vineyard has cellared), as well as many other wine-related curios, will be on offer.
Happy Harvest on the North Fork!