North Fork News

The vineyards to the North are producing world-class wines with depth and character



Some might think of the North Fork as nosebleed territory, but I never pass up the chance for a tasting tour of this increasingly important American winemaking region. Cutchogue-based Bedell's breaking news is its new winemaker, Richard Olsen-Harbich. With a record 27 vintages on Long Island, Olsen-Harbich brings his natural-winemaking philosophy to Bedell and Corey Creek Vineyards, both owned by film executive Michael Lynne. Working with fully sustainable vineyards and 30-year-old vines, Olsen-Harbich uses only wild local ambient yeast, which "allows for the true character of the terroir to shine through," he says. "With the white wines, we are seeing more saline minerality, reminiscent of wet beach stone and hints of herbal dune grass. With the reds, an earthy forest-floor character with wild brambleberry and beach plum." I look forward to tasting his Musée, Bedell's flagship Bordeaux blend, a few years from now.

Macari Vineyards scooped up former Bedell winemaker Kelly Urbanik and brought on Bob Foley of Napa's Pride Mountain Vineyards fame as its consultant wine-maker. With 200 acres under vine and high-design wineries in both Mattituck and Cutchogue, Macari also has a farm with a herd of Longhorn cattle, 18 goats, Sicilian donkeys and 30 beehives. The Mattituck location has a new, improved deck, where I sipped Malbec 2007, a versatile red for fall.

This summer Sparkling Pointe, which elaborates only sparkling wines in méthode champenoise, opened its new winery, designed in French-country-manor style. With towering ceilings, enormous chandeliers and a lounge called the Bubble Room, Sparkling Pointe threw a festive launch party with samba dancers from Rio. The owners, Tom and Cynthia Rosicki, are wild about the Brazilian carnaval. "Sparkling wine goes with the spirit of carnaval," says winemaker Gilles Martin, who poured me his Brut Seduction 2000, which won the "best in the country" award at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle competition.

My North Fork foray ended at the just expanded, enchanting Provence-style tasting garden of Croteaux, a winery making only rosés in uniquely shaped, artistically designed bottles. Michael Croteaux poured me his rosé release for fall, Ruby, made from Cabernet Franc. With its taste of cranberry, it will make the perfect Thanksgiving wine, so stock up early.

WHERE TO SIP ON THE NORTH FORK

  • Bedell Cellars | 36225 Main Rd., Cutchogue, 631-734-7537, bedellcellars.com
  • Corey Creek Vineyards | 45470 Rt. 25, Southold, 631-765-4168, bedellcellars.com
  • Croteaux Vineyards | 1450 S. Harbor Rd., Southold, 631-765-6099, croteaux.com
  • Macari Vineyards | 24385 Main Rd., Cutchogue, 631-734-7070, and 150 Bergen Ave., Mattituck, 631-298-0100, macariwines.com
  • Sparkling Pointe | 39750 County Rd. 48, Southold, 631-765-0200, sparklingpointe.com
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