WTN: Lieb Family Cellars 2005 Pinot Blanc Reserve


When it comes to pinot blanc, its resemblance to chardonnay isn’tlimited to finished wines. Pinot blanc’s leaf structure, clusters andberries so resemble chardonnay that there are many vineyards in Europewhere plantings of the two grapes are intermingled. Here on the North Fork, pinot blanc is grown in a few vineyards, butat Lieb Family Cellars, it’s an important, indespensible part of theirportfolio. In a field on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, you’ll find a 13acres of what Lieb Family Cellars, much like those Europeans, oncethought to be chardonnay vines. Genetic technology has since proventhat the grapes aren’t chardonnay at all. These vines,…

It’s No Wonder That Pittsburgh Isn’t Wine Savvy

Pittsburgh (my beloved home town) falls within the borders of Pennsylvania, a commonwealth whose liquor laws barely have crept out of prohibition, so it should come as no surprise that it’s not the most wine-savvy city east of the Mississippi River. But, with one of the city’s two major newspapers publishing stories like this one (thanks Beau), is there any hope that it will change? It’s disturbing to say the least. Elizabeth Downer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s restaurant critic recently took over as it’s wine critic  (cheers to the PPG for finally having a wine critic) as well. And, while her…

1st Annual Long Island Restuarant Week: November 5 – 12


It’s still a couple months away, but the first ever Long Island Restaurant Week has been announced. It will take place November 5 – 12 all over Long Island. Looking at the website, there just aren’t many restaurants signed up yet. Hopefully that will change because this definitely has potential. Check their site as the week approaches, hopefully there will be more, and better, restaurants involved by then.

Restaurant Review: Waterzooi (Garden City, NY)


By Contributing Columnist Donavan Hall In one of my (yet to be published) novels I created a Belgian-style restaurant and brewpub in the Long Island town of Port Jefferson.  This little beer fantasy of mine is not so far from reality.  For those of us on the East End who are willing to drive into Nassau County, we can get our taste of Belgium at Waterzooi in Garden City (850 Franklin Avenue). Denise and I decided to take in the Sunday Brunch at Waterzooi and we were pleased to find ample parking in the public lot right out front.  The…

The Wine Ratings Game

By Contributing Columnist Richard Olsen-Harbich When it comes to things like music, cars, sports, food or even clothes, Americans are adamant about their likes and dislikes. Why is it when it comes to the subject of wine, so many Americans act like a deer in the headlights? How often have you heard someone say, as you them pour a glass of wine –  “I’m not a wine connoisseur…I really don’t know much about it.” Of course we know it’s partly due to the fact that most of us didn’t grow up with wine like kids in European countries. The “foreign…

Winners From the New York Wine and Food Classic

This week, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard’s 2005 Dry Riesling ($16) defeated 702 other New York wines to win the Governor’s Cup, awarded to the events best wine. Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars was named New York’s "Winery of the Year" based on the number, and level, of medals its wines won. Sponsored and run by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation (NYWGF), a nonprofit statewide trade organization based in the in newly opened New York Wine and Culinary Center. Howard Goldberg reported in the New York Times, "The wine industry and influential wine periodicals treat the contest as…

50 States. 50 Wineries #11: Wills Creek Vineyards (Alabama)


You’ve probably noticed that "50 States. 50 Wineries. 50 Weeks." has become merely 50 wineries from 50 states. That’s just because it’s been so much harder to gather samples than I anticipated. So, instead of doing one a week, I’ll taste them as I can get them. The goal is still to taste, and write about, wine from each of America’s 50 states. This time around, we head to the deep south — Alabama — and Will Creek Vineyards. I knew that this project would lead to tasting some interesting wines made from grapes outside of the Vitis vinifera realm,…

WTN: Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2002 Estate Selection Merlot (The Hamptons, Long Island)


I’ve written about the wines of Wolffer Estate several times, so I probably don’t need to provide much background here. Just know that despite vineyards that have slightly more chardonnay in them than merlot, Wolffer, and winemaker Roman Roth are devoted to Long Island merlot. They are a founding member of the Long Island Merlot Alliance and also create Long Island’s most expensive merlot — their Premier Cru Merlot ($125). One can easily argue the merits of both a $125 bottle of Long Island wine and the LIMA, but today we’re talking about Wolffer Estate Vineyards’ 2002 Estate Selection Merlot…

“DRINK LOCAL” T-Shirts Available


For quite a while now, I’ve been trying to find some interesting-without-being-lame wine-related t-shirts…with very little luck. Then I tried to find some locally focused ones…with even less luck. So, I decided to create one of my own, emblazoned with "DRINK LOCAL" on the front. The message is clear, concise and one that is near and dear to my heart. And, as much as I hate the idea of "going commerical" I’ve opened up a GoodStorm shop where anyone can buy one. I’ve got a few different colors set up right now, but plan to add more at some point.…

Basil- and Bacon-Wrapped Florida Bay Shrimp with Sang Lee Mesclun, Parmigiano Reggiano, Raw Tomato Sauce and Balsamic Syrup


After the watermelon cube amuse, I wrapped some fresh (never frozen) Florida shrimp with a basil leaf and a half strip of bacon and tossed it on the grill. Once cooked (the bacon did a great job protecting the shrimp…I got a little distracted and would have burnt them otherwise!), I put them on a bed of mesclun from Sang Lee Farms, drizzled with some of the same balsamic-blackberry syrup, fresh tomato sauce and parm reg cheese. The picture isn’t great (looks like the syrup is all over the place) but Nena and her parents loved the course.