While out East, I like to do my drinking at home to keep my evenings automobile free. But when Harvest East End announced their line up of exclusive 10-Mile Dinners and it just so happened they included an event pairing McCall Wines with a personalized menu by Chef Noah Schwartz (of Noah’s in Greenport)?
I made an exception, splurged on a ticket and secured one of the 14 seats available at the beachside Cutchogue locale.
Organized by the Long Island Wine Council, these salons are spread out between the two forks and Shelter Island to showcase the magic that happens when you throw winemakers and a revered chef together for a one night only event.
A precursor to the Harvest 2013 Festival Tasting main event on August 24, the 10-Mile series is more than a wonderful way to indulge in some serious eats and nearly bottomless glasses of wine. While celebrating late summer produce and local wine sourced within…you’ve guessed it….ten miles from the hosting residence, participants also support four Long Island charities (East End Hospice, Group for the East End, the Long Island Farm Bureau & Peconic Land Trust.)
Last Sunday, our five-course meal began with canapés: Grilled Shellfish, Deviled Eggs topped with crab and Asparagus wrapped with strips of rare Charolais beef from McCall Ranch. Each bite a reminder that no one has it better than food focused North Fork residents and visitors. We were especially sitting pretty in Cutchogue, situated in the middle of the peninsula, giving Noah Schwartz direct access to famous purveyors like Wickham’s Fruit Farm, Catapano Goat Farm, Satur and Crescent Farms.
Overjoyed by this concept, I may have tipsily exclaimed, “OH LOOK! CUTCHOGUE ON A PLATE,” as the first course was served.
Noah’s is known for fresh Nofo produce and protein beautifully handled in a sophisticated style. His tailor made menu did not stray from the clean and classy dishes served in his namesake restaurant. Not shy about constantly praising nearly every McCall Wine released in print or in person, I enjoyed how each complimented expertly crafted courses. Bottles that fall into my hands are usually subjected to sipping with my own cooking, which if you’ve been forced eat you’ll know is lacking. The 2011 Cabernet Franc a particular surprise. Light enough to work with a fish course, but with enough depth of flavor (light cherry, a puff of smoke) to remind us we’re drinking a Cab Franc.
I can’t imagine a better scene. A gracious host. A waterside perch at perfectly appointed tables at the very end of Nassau Point, with like minded oenophiles bonding as we compared our favorite New York State varietals between anecdotes from our chef and Russ McCall*.
*Little did we know they’d be named “Winery of the Year” a few days later at the New York Wine and Food Classic. We’d have snuck in something sparkling for Nicola Plimpton and Russ to take back to their team for a celebration from their friends at the NYCR.
In case you have a case massive food envy (and you should)…
Here’s the full menu and list of McCall wines offered:
Catapano Goat cheese and Basil Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Latham’s Sungold Tomatoes and Wild Arugula from Satur Farms
Nicola’s Cuvee 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
Orient Sweet Corn and Montauk Succotash
Red Peppers, Cranberry Beans and Pea Shoots
2010 Reserve Chardonnay
Grilled Peconic Bay Striped Bass
Shaved Local Summer Squash Pappardelle, KK’s Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Basil Puree
2011 Cabernet Franc
Crescent Farm Duck Two Ways
Roasted Duck Breast with Local Fingerling Potatoes
Duck Confit Hash with McCall Red Wine Reduction
Grilled Wickham’s Stone Fruit
My Mom’s Honey (literally, Noah’s Mom Makes it), Whipped Goat Yogurt
2012 Pinot Noir Rose
Was this a pricy endeavor? Sure. But I can now tell you from experience: If you have an opportunity to sip McCall Wines 2011 Chardonnay while slurping down Pipes Cove Oysters and Peconic Bay Clams while watching the sunset over Little Peconic Bay, I’d recommend it.
The main evente of Harvest East End comes to the North Fork (for the first time) on Saturday Aug. 24. Presented by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, it will commemorate and celebrate 40 years of winemaking in Long Island Wine Country.
General Admission: 7 – 9:30 p.m.; $150 per person and at the door (if available).
The Vin-IP Experience: Early admittance from 6 – 7 p.m., $250 per person or $2,500 for a reserved table of 10.
For more information, visit www.harvesteastend.com.