Pairing food with one-of-a-kind wines is an increasingly popular trend in Long Island’s wine country. Forget your picnic lunch! We found North Fork wineries with the most unique food menus so you know where to get the best bite while you sip.
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards, Southold
At Sparking Pointe, they face the unique challenge of convincing visitors that sparkling wine is not exclusively for special occasions. To show off the versatility of their wines, they offer an extensive food-pairing menu that changes seasonally and includes a wide variety of cheeses, jams, savory snacks and even some meats and sweet treats.
Each item offered is researched and tasted with the wines before being added to the menu. There is a particular emphasis on sourcing from local businesses when possible. “We just wanted to feature local growers, local producers that may not have tremendous recognition, but they definitely do on our menu,” said marketing and social media coordinator Kelsey Cheslock.
The Hudson Valley Camembert topped with Peconic River Preserves black pepper fig jam is a popular duo that can be paired with any of the wines. A sheep’s milk cheese from the Catapano Dairy Farm down the road from the vineyard is also featured, along with seasonal jams from Oysterponds Farm, a berry farm. There is an Ewe’s Blue cheese that goes well with sweet wines and a sharp cheddar that compliments the smoky, nutty flavor of the 2006 Brut Seduction.
Food pairing events are a unique platform to teach about cuisine that compliments sparkling wine. Seafood is a classic example. Every summer Sparkling Pointe has a Local Oyster Showcase. Around the holidays, the “Eat, Drink & Be Sparkling” series begins. Every Saturday in November and December the vineyard will partner with a different local restaurant to prepare an untraditional dish paired with a particular wine. One event this year will feature chicken and waffles.
Diliberto Winery, Jamesport
Table service is an increasingly popular trend in the North Fork, but it was in place at Diliberto Winery since the business was founded about 10 years ago. At the time, Sal and Maryann Diliberto wanted to bring a piece of what they experienced in Napa to the North Fork. They still strive to create a peaceful, relaxing environment for adults to come and enjoy beautiful scenery with a glass of wine…and maybe a slice of pizza or two.
Dilberto’s has a food menu with a variety of Italian dishes that pair well with their wines. Along with traditional antipasto and rice balls, it features “Pizza Salvatore,” a thin crust pizza made to order with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. It’s topped with basil and oregano, and drizzled with olive oil. Enjoy the popular dish with a bottle 2014 Cantina, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the perfect compliment to pasta, too.
For something lighter, a choice of assorted olives, Lupini beans or Taralle (a southern Italian snack similar to a breadstick) comes complimentary with the purchase of a glass of wine or tasting flight.
Jamesport Vineyards, Jamesport
At Jamesport Vineyards, the staff strives to provide a unique, personal experience for every visitor, whether a group of people is looking for snacks with their wine or a couple is on a romantic dinner date. The food menu includes small plates, snacks and pizzas perfect for any occasion.
The wood-fired pizzas anchor the menu and are topped with imported, domestic and local (sometimes from the vineyard’s own garden) seasonal ingredients. Some favorite small plates and snacks are the ricotta and pistachio pesto crostini, goat cheese with wood-roasted grapes and spiced honey, and white bean and roasted carrot hummus. No matter the choice, there is a wine to go with it. Jamesport’s selection is fruit-forward and easy to pair with food.
On Oct. 13, the vineyard will host the last of three multi-course dinners held this year. The meal includes six to seven courses, ingredients for which are sourced from many different local farms. Each course is paired with a different wine thoughtfully chosen by the culinary and winemaking teams. “It’s a dinner so you first think food but our goal is that you leave thinking food and wine and the impact they had on one another,” said Dan Edgett, Vineyard chef, in a statement about the event.