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Two weeks ago I was very fortunate to spend a day wine tasting along the North Fork of Long Island.  I had briefly visited the area many years ago but I was really excited to see the area again and taste for myself the wines of the region with a little more seriousness.  The day was a little gloomy and overcast, however, it is still wine country and is as beautiful as the wine regions of California that I love so much.

Post Harvest Chardonnay Vines

While I worked on the reviews of the various wineries we visited, Hurricane Sandy hit the New York metro area, including Long Island.  While I am so lucky to have had the chance to visit the area when I did, it breaks my heart to think about the destruction that likely happened at the hands of the storm.  The prior year a different hurricane also damaged the vines and harvest in the area, which means two years in a row, hardship has struck the North Fork as the result of weather.  I guess the one fortunate thing relative to last year is that for most of the wineries, the vast majority of the grapes had already been harvested.

Well, back to our visit.  We had a ball.  All of the wineries & tasting rooms were inviting, tastefully decorated and unique.  The wines were great.  I was not sure that to expect in that regard, however, some of the wines  we tried were among the best I have had on my wine travels.  The climate is different than California, France and Italy, so do not expect the wines to taste like those from other regions.  The climate is cooler there so in general the wines are lower in alcohol, elegant and higher in acidity.  This makes them great for pairing with food.

We managed to fit five wineries into one day of tasting and we had a great experience at each place.  There were two visits that stood out as extra special though, and that is because of the extraordinary service and the high quality of the wines.

Our first visit was to Macari, and it really started the day off on a great note.  (see detailed review here).  The experience with our server made the visit fun and informative, and they make some truly excellent wines.

Gibson Campbell of Macari Vineyards

Another winery that was very memorable was Paumanok.  I had emailed with the winemaker, Kareem Massoud and he offered to take us into the winery on our visit and taste some wine from the barrels.  We started our visit in the tasting room though and I had the best red wines of the trip at Paumonok.  Insanely good; rich yet smooth with dark fruits and earthiness.  While they sadly are not inexpensive, they are worth the price.  Read the detailed review here.

We stopped by a few more places and detailed reviews are available via the links:

Peconic Bay

Shinn

Pellegrini

It takes about 2 hours from NYC to get out to the North Fork, however, once you are out there, it feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of times square.  If you are in the area and want to try some really wonderful wines, give the North Fork a visit.

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