The East End of Long Island is wine country! With over 60 vineyards and wineries rooted in the Hamptons and across the North Fork you can find a red, white, bubbly, or rose perfect for lazy summer nights or fabulous festivities. These are our top ten favorite place to sip and savor the famous fruits of the East End starting on the North Fork in Greenport, looping around through Riverhead, and continuing east to the Hamptons on the South Fork.
: No vineyard can boast better views than the recently opened Kontakosta from its perch high atop the bluffs in Greenport. Their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc took home a Double Gold Medal as well as a Best in Class at the 2013 International East Meets West Wine Challenge. (825 North Road, Greenport, www.kontokostawinery.com)
: If you like bubbly than you can't miss this North Fork hot spot. Award winning winemaker Gilles Martin
crafts sparkling wines in the methode champenoise, just like they do in the Champagne region of France from where he hails. Pair the brut with cheese and caviar, the 2010 Topaz Imperial with spicy seafood dishes, and the Cuvée Carnaval with sweet or savory foods. Owners Tom and Cynthia Rosicki will be popping open their newest release, Cuvee Carnaval Rose, on July 26th during their 5th annual Carnaval celebration featuring Samba Novo. (39750 County Road 48, Southold, www.sparklingpointe.com)
: This sustainable vineyard grows over 80-acres of grapes and produces a variety of wines under the watchful eye of winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich. Relax in the tasting room, a1919 converted potato barn with spectacular vineyard views, or enjoy the sprawling grounds while sipping the rich and complex malbec, juicy First Crush Red, or earthy cabernet franc, hailed by many oenophiles as one the best reds around. (36225 Main Road, Cutchogue, www.bedellcellars.com)
Castello Di Borghese Vineyard & Winery
: The vineyard that started it all in 1973, known as Hargrave Vineyards until the Borghese family bought and renamed the vineyard in 1999. Renowned for their rich reds and nuanced whites, you can take a guided tour with owners Prince Marco and Princess Ann Marie Borghese if you schedule in advance or pop by on Saturday night and enjoy live cabaret music. (17150 County Road 48, Cutchogue, www.castellodiborghese.com)
: It's always a party at Jamesport where live music and wine blends just as nicely as the vineyards' Estate Series Mélange de Trois, a deliciously complex blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc. Their East End Series wines are venerable crowd pleasers that include rose, red and white table wines, sparkling, and a new riesling that is growing in popularity. (1216 Main Road, Jamesport, www.jamesportwines.com)
Martha Clara Vineyards
: Winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez says that his wines are "as diverse as the people that make them" and we agree. The bubbly brut is light and crisp, the riesling pairs well with seafood, and the malbec/merlot is an easy drinking red that pairs with anything off the barbeque. Need something special, try Clusters, a port-style dessert wine. (6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, www.marthaclaravineyards.com)
Duck Walk Vineyards South
: Enjoy a light red pinot meunier or sweet Vidal Ice Wine, made with grapes frozen on the vine, during one of Duck Walk's cheese and wine pairing parties this season. Yearning for something decadent, try the Blueberry Port made from blueberries, not grapes, paired with dark chocolate. (231 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, www.duckwalk.com)
Channing Daughters Winery
: Taking the artisanal approach to wine making in Bridgehampton, Channing Daughters prides itself on hand-picking every grape before it's carefully juiced and fermented in small batches throughout the year. With a wide range of offerings that include reds, whites, and pinks that you expect here on the East End, you can also find unique orange wines and vermouth. Our faves include the 2012 Refosco, that pairs nicely with rich fare, and the 2011Tocai Friulano Sylvanus Vineyard, perfect to sip while entertaining enjoying meats and cheeses. (1927 Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton, www.channingdaughters.com)
Wolffer Estate Vineyard
: Haven't you always wished you could bottle the perfect summer day? Well, winemaker Roman Roth
has done just that with the new rose dubbed "Summer in a Bottle." The crisp, fruity wine is the color of an East End sunset and goes with absolutely everything. Visit the winery for Twilight Thursdays for live music or drop by the Wolffer Wine Stand (3312 Montauk Highway, Sagaponack) on Friday and Saturday and sip over the vines as day turns to night. (139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, www.wolffer.com)
: Making the jump across Peconic Bay just in time for the summer, Lieb offers grab-and-go boxed wines for the beach or boat as well as kegs of wine for larger parties. Sip the Rumor Mill Hard Cider, to be released this June, or go traditional with their splendid 2012 Reserve Pinot Blanc. (13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue and 26 Park Place, East Hampton, www.liebcellars.com)
At Kontokosta Winery in Greenport the Long Island Sound is only steps from the tasting room. (Courtesy Photo)
Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com
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