For those of you familiar with Tiffany’s Blog, I want to take a moment to thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, and following my blog for so long. You make my job of sharing my favorite restaurants and recipes worthwhile. For those of you that are now just reading this post for the first time, welcome! I sincerely hope that you enjoy this piece, and will continue to read, comment, share and follow my blog.
Tiffany C. DuBois
The Hamptons in Long Island New York is a place that most people assume is only for the rich. Mainly actors, musicians, and famous people who inhabit this area for the summer before going back to work in the fall. Many don’t realize that it is also wine country. There are many vineyards in this region, somewhere around 40 to 50. Most are located in the north fork area. So, being the wine lovers that we are, we decided to take a last minute trip and head to Long Island and explore their vineyards. And we’re so glad we did.
From Philadelphia, it’s a bit over three hours to get to Quogue, where we stayed at a wonderful home thanks to Airbnb. Now when I say a bit over three hours, that really depends on what time you leave. We left in late morning on a Monday so we had a nice, traffic free trip. Trust me when I say, you want to avoid rush hour in the New York-Long Island area.
We arrived a couple of hours before our check in so we decided to visit a vineyard nearby. First on the list was DiLiberto Winery. The winery was very cute and quaint. Inside, there were wonderful frescos adorning the walls to give you that Italian feel. It was a nice day so we decided to sit outside and lookout over their wonderful vineyard. We sampled six different wines and all of them were very good. Our favorites were the 2016 Chardonnay, 2014 Cantina, which was a merlot and cab franc blend, and the 2014 Tre, which was a merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cab franc blend. To go with their wonderful wines, we ordered their pizza “Salvatore” which was delicious. It was made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, basil, oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Cooked perfectly, it went really well with our wine flight.
After checking in, we headed back out and went to Jamesport Vineyards. Again, it was a lovely winery. When you first walk in, you can see where and how they make their wines directly across from their tasting room. The ambiance of the place was wonderful. It was low lit but welcoming. The staff were friendly and well-versed in winemaking, and allowed us to guide the tasting, but also had great recommendations based on our tastes. The outdoor space on the property was beautiful. It was big and there was plenty of seating among the vines. Among the many wines we sampled, our favorites were their 2014 Estate Cab Franc, 2013 Estate Riesling, and a 2013 Estate Glace dessert wine. All were delicious!
The next day we headed out with an ambitious plan to visit quite a few wineries. We made it to four but it wasn’t easy! Our first stop was Palmer Vineyards. A beautiful winery that when you first walk in, you can see their winemaking process and the barrels. It really added to the charm of the place. The tasting room was small but very cozy and inviting! Outside was another story. A large deck with lots of seating and plenty of seating on the grounds as well. The wines we sampled were wonderful but we liked their whites a bit more. We purchased their 2016 Viognier, 2016 Aromatico and 2013 Old Roots Merlot. The Aromatico had lovely hints of Asian pear, spice, honey and jasmine. It was delicious.
Next up was Macari Vineyards. It was visually stunning when we walk inside. The tasting room and wine shop was very large. Big chandeliers throughout and exposed beams added to the grandeur of the room. They had a large seating area indoors and outdoors and both were absolutely beautiful. Their wines were amazing but our favorites were the 2015 Chardonnay Estate and the 2014 Cab Franc. It was a beautiful vineyard and we really enjoyed our visit here.
Not to far away was Borghese Vineyard. A smaller winery but also Long Island’s oldest. The tasting room was small but very cute and charming. They had on display dozens of medals won in the past for their wines. Once we started sampling them, we could see why they have won so many awards. Their wines were delicious. Our favorites were the 2014 Cab Franc and the 2015 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. They were outstanding!
The last winery for this day was Sparkling Pointe. When we walked inside, we were amazed how big and beautiful the tasting room was decorated. Tall ceilings and large chandeliers were just part of the beautiful decor. Outside was just as lovely. There was a large stone tiled patio area overlooking the beautiful vineyard. They are noted for their sparkling wines and had plenty to sample. Of all the sparkling wines we tried, the NV Cuvee Carnaval Blanc was our favorite. All with your wine samples, they have an extensive selection of crackers, cheeses and meats to pair with them. In addition to the wonderful charcuterie, we sampled and bought a jar of Blueberry Bourbon jam. All the jams that Sparkling Pointe curates are made from scratch and they are delicious! Don’t forget a jar or two on your way out.
On our last full day on Long Island, we decided to keep it simple and visit only three vineyards. We started with Osprey’s Dominion and they were amazing. When you walk in, the tasting room and wine shop are housed in a large building that is breathtaking. The outdoor area is very impressive as well. There are over a dozen picnic tables dotting the property and they have a windmill! Their wines were some of the best we tasted on our trip. We loved their 2014 Carmenere, Osprey is Long Island’s only vineyard to produce this varietal, their 2012 Heritage and their Port. The Port was absolutely delicious!
We traveled next to Pindar Vineyards. They came across as one of the bigger vineyard’s on Long Island but when you walk into their tasting room, you are taken back by the warmth and charm of the decor. Low lighting, a beautiful stained glass window and beautiful tasting bar just lent to the charm of the building. Pindar wines were amazing as well. We loved their Pythagoras, which is a Bordeaux blend, the 2014 Cab Franc, the 2017 Riesling and the 2014 Chardonnay. Pindar was an excellent winery and definitely worth a repeat trip.
To wrap up our wine trip, we visited a small but lovely winery, Sherwood House Vineyards. They have a small tasting room but it is so adorable and cozy. It’s housed in an 1870’s farmhouse and was the perfect place to end our wine tasting trip. The wines we sampled were fantastic! We loved all of them on the tasting flight but we really loved their 2015 Hound’s Tree Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2016 Sherwood House Chardonnay. Sherwood is a definite repeat next time we go back to Long Island. They have a really nice outdoor space as well to sit back and relax with a glass or bottle of your favorite vintage.
Also on our trip, we were lucky to dine out at two wonderful restaurants, the Post Stop Cafe and Grana. Trust me when I say that you want to try them both! The Post Stop Cafe used to be a post office and is full of warmth and charm. You can dine inside or out on their wonderful porch when the weather is nice. We dined outside on our visit. The staff and owner were so incredibly friendly and bent over backwards to make sure everything was perfect and to our liking. I even got a picture with the owner, Karen who was just so incredibly nice.
We started our meal at the Post Stop Cafe with two appetizers, baked oysters and a shrimp cocktail. Both were delicious! The oysters were not overly breaded and you could taste how fresh they were. The shrimp used for the cocktail were very big and fresh. Again, they do not skimp on their ingredients.
Our entrees included a grilled yellow fin tuna with a side of baked potato and fresh grilled vegetables and their bowtie pasta with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, peas and mushrooms. Again, both were absolutely delicious! The tuna was cooked perfectly to a medium rare and tasted so fresh. The pasta dish was wonderful and cooked perfectly. They again are generous in their portions, so much so that I could only eat half of it. With our dinner, we ordered Napa Valley Stag’s Leap Chardonnay that went beautifully with our food. Yes, we went west coast with our wine but just this one time.
To wrap things up, for dessert I ordered a chocolate martini and we split an amazing dessert. It was fried bananas, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, drizzled with caramel sauce and a fresh strawberry on top. This with my martini was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. We will definitely go back next time we are in Long Island.
The other restaurant we visited, Grana, was nothing short of perfection. It was recommended to us by several people we met while in Long Island and we could see why. It’s a cozy restaurant with a wonderful Italian feel and a wood fired stove in back. Hanging on the walls were beautiful paintings of various Italian cities and regions.
To start, we ordered an absolutely amazing appetizer of fresh mozzarella cheese, homemade tomato sauce topped with fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil that was to die for. I will probably never want to eat a fried mozzarella stick again after tasting this! It was perfect. The cheese was so fresh and tasty, the sauce was made with the perfect amount of spices and the basil was like the cherry on top of the cake. We also ordered a caesar salad with was so fresh and light. It paired beautifully with the mozzarella.
For our entree, we ordered a perfectly cooked, crispy sliced meatball pizza. It was one of the best pizza’s we have ever tasted! It was made with homemade meatballs, marinara sauce, aged mozzarella, toasted bread crumbs, wild shiitake and cremini mushrooms, fontina cheese and white truffle oil. It was amazing! Every ingredient blended so well together and you could taste everything as well. Sometimes places over do it and put too many toppings on a pizza and the ingredients get lost. Not this pizza! Trust me when I say, we will definitely be stopping back here next time we are in Long Island. Make sure you do so as well!
This was the first time either of us had been to Long Island and we had a wonderful time. It’s a very laid back, easy going lifestyle that I hope one day we will have. There are farm stands and roadside fresh produce stands all over, wineries to satisfy any palate and amazing restaurants. Plus, you are surrounded by beaches and picturesque towns, and it’s all only a little over three hours away, if you go at the right time. We loved it and we can’t wait to go back for a longer trip. It so easy to forget that one of the largest cities in the world, New York City, is only 1-2 hours away.