One short month after Moustache Brewing Company closed the doors of its Riverhead tasting room, the space is reopening anew as the home base of Long Island brew master Rob Raffa’s popular, nomadic brewing company übergeek. The grand opening was April 2 with festivities lasting through April 11.
From home brewer to Moustache’s head brewer to founder of übergeek Brewing Company in under a decade, Raffa has quickly cemented himself in the Long Island beer scene, with a loyal fanbase and many connections both up-island and on the East End.
“We [übergeek] were able to build our entire network, so to speak, from word of mouth from selling wholesale,” Raffa says, noting that many of his customers hail from the Islip-Lindenhurst area. “I had a slight reputation myself before even starting just from making quality beer at Moustache, and I have a lot of friends, brewers and beer distributor owners, who were willing to try my product and push it out to market. And it kind of resonated with customers. I feel like I’ve got a good pulse on what the customer wants these days, with respect to craft, and I think that’s kind of being showcased by how quickly the brand has established itself.”
After a year and a half of brewing übergeek at local breweries such as North Fork Brewing Company, Raffa reached out to Matthew and Lauri Spitz, owners of Moustache Brewing Company, where he had worked for six years, in search of a more permanent physical space. With a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed last summer, the Spitzes jumped at the offer, deciding to have their beer crafted elsewhere moving forward, while Raffa takes over the Moustache tasting room.
“It’s a very unique situation, because it’s a turnkey coming in, which is a huge help,” Raffa explains. “But the main thing is that I’ve used that brewing system for years, so I was able to walk in and just immediately start brewing, knowing what I’m doing and not really having to deal with any test batches—with everything coming out the way that I fully expected it to. Not everybody has that—I’m totally cognizant of that—and I think that’s a huge advantage and why we’re able to flip and rebrand the space, get beer brewed and be open in a month.”
While Raffa was eager to redesign the space to fit his highly consistent branding, he acknowledges that it was somewhat difficult to say goodbye to the relics from his time at Moustache. “It’s definitely bittersweet. There were so many things on the wall—memories, since Moustache had a lot of photos up,” he says. “It was sad to see them go, but I’m excited to start a new chapter. The brand for what I’m trying to do in this space is to make it very evocative, very cathartic and feel like the space itself is moving and providing entertainment for everyone.”
As for the beer itself, Raffa has long had a passion for experimentation, and his new business model allows for much more of that than the wholesale market ever could.
“When we were doing wholesale, we kind of had to stick to higher ABV beers, since those tend to sell better out in the wholesale market, so we couldn’t just jump out there and give people a blonde or a pilsner because it’s a bit more risky. Now we get to stretch our legs a little bit and try less hypey styles and do them well, he says. “I find the most rewarding thing about brewing is the experimentation and also trying to find a way to bridge the gap between brewing something that is a full-on liquid and culinary, where you can actually sculpt on it and make it into a three-dimensional shape. So I tend to pull a lot of influence from food in order to give beer a little bit more depth of flavor and just to kind of break the mold a little bit. And brewing in this space definitely gives me a huge opportunity to experiment a lot more and get a little more eccentric. It’s fun—I wouldn’t want any other job!”
For the week-and-a-half-long grand opening of the übergeek tasting room, Raffa has prepared a new 4.1% pilsner, a new IPA, a new tart, and he’s working on his first Cohort of Eccentric Misfits members-only tap, an exclusive brew inspired by Moustache’s Society of Fine Liquid Provisions. The tasting room will offer a total of 10 beers on tap in its opening week, cans of the brewery’s popular portfolio, as well as mead, cider and wine from fellow Long Island businesses. The Eat Me, Drink Me Food Truck will also be on the premises every day except Easter, offering incredible food to be enjoyed in the indoor or outdoor seating areas.
Raffa expresses a great deal of excitement at the thought of connecting with his community in Riverhead—from the up-island übergeek fans of his nomadic days to the East Enders who remember his Moustache days fondly and to the new friends who are sure to fall in love with his unique, eccentric brews.
“What I like is that when we open, we’re probably going to have a mixing of communities,” he says. “I finally get to bring my beer to the locals who I’ve known for years, through Moustache, and a lot of them have already come behind me and are excited to call this their new home, so I think that it’s only going to strengthen the brand…. Even if you did go to Moustache back in the day, coming to the space is definitely going to be a new experience!”
Baiting Hollow-based Long Island Spirits has gone national with its new line of LiV craft vodka canned cocktails.
Distributed to stores by Winebow this month, these libations are made with sparkling water, all-natural juices and LiV standard edition vodka crafted from locally grown corn in authentic pot and column stills. The result is four flavors of sugar-free, gluten-free cocktails with 100 calories and 5% ABV in each 12-ounce can. Each can displays the letters “LIV” in international maritime signal flag symbols, color-coded to each flavor.
Sure to be a local favorite, Southampton lemonade is a pure flavor that tastes fresh and sultry. The last summer lime fizz flavor comprises incredibly sweet aromatics and flavors that feature an elegant balance between sweet and sour. Long Island cold brew tea is a thirst-quenching delight coupled with light sweetness and a hint of eureka lemon. Finally, watermelon crush offers a lusciously sweet vine-ripened melon flavor that’s stunningly bright and crisp.
“We spent several years developing these special cocktails, and they have dramatically exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Long Island Spirits founder Rich Stabile in a statement. “Having Winebow’s support for this launch is extraordinary and will no doubt help ensure its success. Together we believe this will be a true game changer in the canned cocktail category.”
The North Fork distillery, touted as Long Island’s first craft distillery, also announced that LiV standard edition vodka, which launched in 2007, is being relaunched with a new look and feel that is patterned after the LiV craft vodka cocktail cans.
Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor recently appointed Chef Nicholas Vogel as the resort and restaurant’s new executive chef.
With a focus on local ingredients, seasonality and sustainability, Vogel’s newly launched menus feature contemporary American fare with an emphasis on dock-to-dish dining. He plans to change up the dishes offered seasonally at least three or four times per year while featuring daily specials, homemade pastas, scrumptious desserts and fresh in-house baked goods.
“I think the downtime is going to allow for experimenting and recipe development as we head into my first fall and winter here in Sag Harbor,” Vogel says. “I cannot wait to share my food with everyone that calls the East End home and highlight Baron’s Cove as a premiere restaurant in the Hamptons.”
Get to know the Restaurant at Baron’s Cove Executive Chef Nicholas Vogel!
Tell us about your culinary background and how those experiences prepared you for your role as Executive Chef of Baron’s Cove.
My culinary background is very tied into my own personal background. I grew up in this industry! My mother worked in restaurants, and I also worked at a family owned bar/restaurant as one of my first jobs. From dishwasher, to bussing tables, cooking, waiting tables, bartending and front of house management—I have done it all.
Most recently I was the executive chef at Alta Strada in D.C. That was my most recent position with the Schlow Restaurant Group, and previously I was a sous chef within that same restaurant group. I went to college for business/finance as a way out of the “industry” when I was 18, however I could not shake the hospitality itch. Finding myself wanting to be back in the kitchen after college, I dedicated the last six years of my life to trying to become the best chef and businessman I can be—working and training to be an executive chef in various restaurants and hotels.
Is there anything that sets Baron’s Cove apart from the restaurants you’ve worked at previously?
I would have to say the location and seasonality is what sets Baron’s Cove apart from the last restaurant I was executive chef at. It is certainly a change for me coming from Washington D.C. However, I grew up vacationing in and around Cape May, New Jersey, and previously worked at Cape Resorts properties (The Ebbitt Room and Beach Plum Farm Kitchen) about four years ago. Understanding the nature of a resort destination is something I am familiar with and have previously worked in before.
How have you developed your relationships with East End farms, vineyards, seafood purveyors, etc.? And who are some you’re currently working with at Baron’s Cove?
Developing is the key word. I am a few months into reopening the restaurant and starting the new culinary program from scratch here while trying to source the best local products and produce I can. One of the reasons I came here was to take advantage of the local bounty, and be more connected to farmers, fishers, and be an active member of the East End community. I am currently working with Braun Seafood, Haskell Seafood, Foster Farms and Treiber Farms, to name a few… Captain Peter Haskell will text me early in the morning to fill me in on his catch and hours later you will find that fresh seafood on your plate. I can tell you the boat that the fish came off of.
Are the Baron’s Cove menus the first Hamptons restaurant menus you’ve developed, and what were some of your goals or your overall vision for them?
The new menu for summer 2020 was the first “Hamptons” menu I have developed. My goal and vision for any menu is to bring bright, bold and clean flavors with exciting plating for the guest’s eyes. I look forward to continuing to make the Restaurant at Baron’s Cove a destination and for it to be able to stand apart while still offering a great amenity to the hotel guests staying with us.
Have you always been a proponent of dock-to-dish dining, or is this something new you’ve begun utilizing at Baron’s Cove? How does the freshly caught seafood affect the quality or taste of the dishes prepared with it?
I have always enjoyed fishing from a young age, and I think my ideas and morals of sustainability apply to my mission here at Baron’s Cove. I try to use the freshest local product available, by using my partnerships with local captains and vendors to use in-shore species native to this part of Long Island. Dock-to-dish is the equivalent of farm-to-table, and it affects the quality and taste immensely. The average hands that a single fish or product passes through from the sea to the guest is 16. I am trying to cut that down to two—the fisherman and myself. Doing whole fish butchery and minimizing the amount of time that a fish is caught until it is cooked helps us deliver a product that I am really proud of serving to our guests.
To learn more about Baron’s Cove, view Vogel’s menus and place a reservation, visit baronscove.com.
Pie is undoubtedly the dessert of the holiday season (sorry fruitcake), and as such, December should be spent tasting a wide variety of flavors and styles to expand your pie palate when the treat is at its most readily available. Here are 10 pies you should try on the East End this year.
At the crossroads of Tate’s Bake Shop’s signature chocolate chip cookies and scrumptious walnut brownies, lies the indulgent Tate’s Chocolate Chip Pie. With a layer of crispy crust followed by walnutty goodness in the middle and a base of gooey chocolate, the 9″ treat, available in Southampton and online, is best served warm with chilling ice cream.
A big hit around the holidays, Mince Pie is actually available at Krieg’s Bakery in Hampton Bays anytime. Made with rum-soaked apples, raisins and their signature crumb topping, this is one pie you’ll want to enjoy year-round. Other popular picks include Krieg’s Boston Cream, Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Pudding pies.
Mary’s Marvelous Pumpkin Pie returns this Thanksgiving, with orders being accepted through November 23. The East Hampton deli’s holiday pies, including apple and pecan, are so famous that even Hamptons celebrities can’t help but gush over them on social media. They’re that good.
While coconuts may hail from a different island paradise than the East End, local farms are just as adept at baking with them as with their own ingredients, and the Milk Pail Coconut Custard Pie is so expertly crafted and flavored, you’d think their Water Mill orchard had a row of palm trees. And yes, they also offer several variations of apple pie, as well as other fruit.
Few pie ingredient trios pair as well as strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb, and Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton has mastered the combination. Meredith’s Famous Strawberry Rhubarb Raspberry Pie is sweet and slightly tart, and offers a more complex flavor palate than the farm’s equally delicious apple, pecan, key lime and cherry pies.
The 1760 Homestead Farm in Northville has made quite a name for itself as the East End home of Concord Grape Pie. Originally from the Finger Lakes Region, the grape pie recipe has been passed down through owner Larry Kaiser’s family and updated to give this local variant a uniquely North Fork flavor.
Pecan Pie is basically a Thanksgiving tradition at this point, but this year, the holiday is being crashed by its naughty cousin Bourbon Pecan Pie. This indulgent dessert, on offer at D’latte Bakery & Café in Greenport, offers a more mature take on the classic treat, and it comes with the option of a pint of vanilla gelato, available exclusively when ordered with one of D’latte’s 10″ pies. Other flavors include Apple Cranberry, Wild Blueberry and more.
One thing Thanksgiving and Woodside Orchards have in common is an association with timeless apple pie, which is why the Aquebogue orchard has taken it upon themselves to go above and beyond with the flavors of apple pie on offer. Apple Crumb, Apple Cranberry, Honey Apple and No Sugar Apple are exciting takes on the classic dessert, but the Apple Blueberry Pie just hits that tartness sweet-spot so effectively that it’s an instant favorite.
At the center of the Blue Duck Bakery Café’s delicious Country Peach Crumb Pie is a window into the dessert’s irresistible peachy core, luring curious café-goers to experience its perfect balance of fruit and crumble. With locations in Greenport, Riverhead and Southold, sweet temptation is always around the corner when exploring the North Fork.
Thanksgiving pies have returned to Briermere Farms in Riverhead with flavors ranging from pumpkin and apple to peach and blueberry. While all delicious in their own right, the four cream pies hit different than their more traditional fall pie brethren, and the Briermere Cherry Cream Pie deserves an extra special mention. Hurry and order yours by Friday, November 20.
Hamptons and North Fork wineries are open and pouring, and these chillier months present experiences, tasting options, food offerings, unmatched scenery and more reasons to enjoy the offerings of East End Wine Country. As we come down the home stretch of 2020, let’s toast in 20 unique ways.
A smashing success since they began this summer, the Castello di Borghese Vineyardtours hosted by Giovanni Borghese continue into the fall. “Those have been a great opportunity for us to take small groups and give them an immersive experience in terms of learning about how we grow the vines and maintain the vines throughout the growing season,” Borghese says. “After time in the vines, we bring them underground into the cellar and show them all of the equipment and processes that we employ.”
When visiting an East End vineyard, it’s easy to fall in love and wish you never have to leave, and at Shinn Estate Vineyards, you don’t have to. The winery’s four luxurious guest bedrooms offer comfort, sustainability and respite from the cold weather.
This fall and winter, you’ll be surprised to discover new At Home vertical tasting boxes at Roanoke Vineyards, featuring three of the vineyard’s classic wines from three spectacular vintages. Theses portable flights are ideal for spoiling everyone on your holiday shopping list.
If you’re craving something more than charcuterie to munch while you sip local wine, look no further than the Little Oak Wood Fired Kitchen at Jamesport Vineyards. Unique pies include the Just Peachy (yes, it’s topped with roasted peaches), The Lobsta (lobster and corn) and the Fun Guy (mushrooms and shallots). Rest assured, they have classic cheese and charcuterie options, too.
There are more ways to enjoy wine than by the bottle, just look at all the options in the Bridge Lane collection, from the team behind Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue. The brand’s popular Chardonnay, red, rosé and Sauvignon Blanc are available in canned, bottled, boxed and keg options.
Made with the world-famous wines that Wölffer Estate Vineyard is known for, the wide array of ciders offers a different way to enjoy fall at an East End vineyard. New to the lineup is the Wölffer No. 139 LoRo Cider. “You don’t want it too watery and not too sweet, not sour, that was the game. We found the sweet spot without being sweet,” winemaker Roman Roth says of the 91-calorie LoRo cider.
Perched atop the sweeping bluffs overlooking Long Island Sound, Kontokosta Winery in Greenport offers unrivaled water views to marvel at while sipping award-winning hand-crafter wines.
Through the Merlot for Monarchs Campaign at Coffee Pot Cellars, every bottle of 2013 Merlot sold plants a milkweed at Blossom Meadow Farm to help restore the decimated monarch butterfly population.
Storms, intense heat and other factors can influence the taste of a particular vintage, and learning about them can help you better understand the variance in taste found in wines of the same style but different harvest year. Next time you stop by Clovis Point for a glass, visit the vineyard’s website to read winemaker John Leo’s in-depth vintage notes going as far back as 2003 and get to know the wine you thought you knew.
No matter what fork you’re on, there’s a Duck Walk Vineyards to visit, with locations in Southold and Water Mill. And no matter which one you choose, make sure to try the famous blueberry port, a perfect pairing for these colder days.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it, as the saying goes, and Harbes Vineyard certainly has it. The vineyard features an award-winning lineup of wines praised by the New York Wine Classic. With two silver medals, three gold and a double gold for the Blanc de Blancs, Harbes knows how to steal the hearts of New York wine lovers and experts.
Few pairs are sweeter than chocolate and wine, which Sparkling Pointe offers in spades, but they also offer a pairing most have yet to realize they need to try as soon as possible—wine and caviar. Indulge in three flavors of sturgeon caviar, as well as the incredibly rare Peconic Escargot Snail Caviar.
RG|NY is getting ready for winter in style. While outdoor seating isn’t available this month, the vineyard was the first to announce cozy dining igloos coming this December. “We’ll be drinking wine outside all year round,” RG|NY writes.
The special Dr. Dan’s Signature Collection at Pindar Vineyards honors the late Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos with wines made with grapes from his favorite vineyard blocks. The collection, which currently includes a Gewurztraminer and a white blend, celebrates this Long Island Wine Country pioneer.
Voted the Best of the Best Wine Club in 2019, membership at Pellegrini Vineyards includes three to six wines shopped quarterly, 20% off all wine purchases, complimentary bar tastings, early access to new releases, access to a library of wines sold out elsewhere and more.
The award-winning Ramato orange wine at Channing Daughters Winery is certainly a must-try, just don’t expect it to taste like a mimosa. “No, it’s not made with oranges,” the winery explains. “It’s made with white grapes, leaving the grape skins in contact with the juice. Depending on how long the juice ferments with the skins—anywhere from a few hours to many months—gives it color.”
Who says rosé is just a summer drink? This is your last chance to enjoy a wide selection of classic and sparkling rosé wines and sip them in the comfort of the Croteaux VineyardsTasting Barn, closing after Sunday, November 8.
The November edition of The Local Apron is available now at Lenz Winery in Peconic, including all the ingredients to cook Pan Seared Goodale Farm Pork Chops with Apple Cabbage Slaw. The package also two bottles of estate wine to help create the perfect homebound dinner for two.
Experience fine wine and a charming ranch aesthetic at McCall Wines in Cutchogue. During your stay, you might be so lucky as to see cows, black pigs or even a dashing stallion.
Weekends at Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead are extra enticing this year, with fresh Peconic Bay oysters from Harvest Moon Shellfish Co. served up alongside the winery’s delicious wines. Enjoy fresh shellfish every Saturday and Sunday through November 28.
In August, the Capri Hotel in Southampton debuted their one-of-a-kind dining experience, NAIA. Executive Chef Pavlos Davarakis discusses his culinary background, the new menu and what sets NAIA apart from the competition.
Tell us about your culinary background and how those experiences prepared you for your role as Executive Chef of NAIA at the Capri Hotel.
I am originally from Athens, Greece. I studied at Le Monde Institute of Hotel and Tourism in Athens. My first position was at a bakery, where I started working during school. It was before I knew anything about cooking or baking. I started at the lowest position and worked my way up. My father taught me that if you want to get to the top, you can’t skip any steps because you will learn from each. I wanted to be a head chef, so he told me that before I get there, I needed to have respect for every position under the executive chef.
After studying, I continued working as a baker. Then, I worked at Aggelidis Bakery, a well-known Greek bakery, where I worked with larger volumes.
I felt I needed to explore a bit—both the world and my abilities—so I moved to London, England. I learned how to make sushi from some of the top sushi experts in London. Then, I was called to Dublin, Ireland to help some friends shape their new restaurant and bakery. I learned both front and back of house and worked up to becoming the manager.
After some time, I wanted the ultimate challenge, so I got on a plane and moved to New York. I felt ready. I started as an Executive Pastry Chef at a four-star restaurant that was part of the Kellari Group. I began collaborating with the renowned chef Mr. Gregory Zapantis who became my mentor and close friend, and eventually I became his sous chef. I represented him at various events, from corporate events at the Russian Tea Room to private dining experiences.
After four years of learning from him, I knew I was ready.
Is there anything that sets NAIA at the Capri Hotel apart from the restaurants and hotels you’ve worked at previously?
Unlike other hotels I’ve worked in, here at NAIA, we focus almost entirely on the guest experience. In other words, most hotels and their restaurants think separately, with distinct guest experiences. At NAIA, we collaborate on almost every level. So, when we shaped the menu, we considered not only visitors, but also our neighbors. I want every dish I create to speak to the diner and to deliver more than just great flavor. Every dish is unique and has a special meaning. When eating NAIA’s octopus, I want the person to be transported through the flavors to the Mediterranean.
Tell us more about your vision for the NAIA at the Capri Hotel menu.
The best way to get fresh ingredients is to get them from your neighbors. We are lucky that we are here on Long Island where there are farmers not far who are excited to work with us. Our mission is to support the local community as much as we can. To that end, I searched for the juiciest tomato—and found it at Hank’s Farms. I partner with local fishermen to bring fresh fish daily. Long Island has so much to offer and we’re excited to take advantage of it.
What seasonal dishes can NAIA at the Capri Hotel guests expect to find on the menu as we move into the colder months?
Because our recipes are made with local ingredients, their flavors will change with the season. We anticipate creating new dishes for the colder months. For example, guests can expect pumpkin, squash and root vegetables incorporated into the menu. It isn’t swimsuit season anymore, so hearty dishes will make people feel cozy.
What do you find most rewarding about being the executive chef of NAIA at the Capri Hotel?
I love going to work every day. I’m lucky because I have been given creative freedom with the dishes I envision.
To learn more about NAIA at the Capri Hotel and to place a reservation, visit naiahamptons.com.
Upon congratulating the East End’s young wine class of 2019, it seemed unfair to overlook the eldest wines in the area, especially when this beloved elixir truly gets better with age. The search begins for the oldest wine vintage available at each Hamptons and North Fork winery, specifically in their online stores where these libations can be ordered for pickup or shipped right to our spacious wine cellars.
Lieb Cellars’ 2017 Estate Sparkling Rosé: Made with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, this refreshing sparkler offers delicate bubbles, zesty acidity and notes of peach and raspberry. 3050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-1100, liebandco.com
Roanoke Vineyards’ The Hill 2016: This site-specific blend comprises two thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/3 Cabernet Franc from the Twelve Rows block. Field blending, a technique that requires total knowledge of the vineyard and growing season, allowed the different varietals to begin harmonizing flavors before fermentation even began, and the resulting wine proves that Roanoke Vineyards’ willingness to risk some of their best grapes is key to achieving greatness. 3543 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. 631-727-4161, roanokevineyards.net
Saltbird Cellars’ 2016 Harbinger Red Wine: Dark, sweet fruity aromas draw boysenberry and chocolate mint to the palate in this blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Hints of currants, chicory and berries keep every sip fresh. 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic. saltbirdcellars.com
Sannino Vineyard’s 2016 Francesco: This unique five-grape blend was created in honor of Anthony Sannino’s father and is meant to be enjoyed with good friends and great food. 15975 County Road 48, Cutchogue. 631-734-8282, sanninovineyard.com
Sherwood House Vineyards’ Oregon Road Cabernet Franc 2016: A light-bodied and unoaked red wine with notes of red apple, raspberry and peppercorn, this accessible blend reflects the maritime terroir and pairs perfectly with local produce, fish and various East End dishes. 1291 Main Road, Jamesport. 631-779-3722, sherwoodhousevineyards.com
Shinn Estate Vineyards’ 2016 Estate Merlot: With aromas of sweet spices, toasted herbs, black cherry and chocolate, Shinn Estate’s signature Merlot is best enjoyed with hard cheese, pork, beef, charcuterie or chocolate. Enjoy a glass now or wait a few more years for the blend to complete its evolution. 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck. 631-804-0367, shinnestatevineyards.com
Wölffer Estate’s Noblesse Oblige 2016: This Wölffer White Horse Selection sparkling wine is made from the vineyard’s signature rosé in an Extra Brut style, creating a seamless, harmonious elegance that excites the palate with each sip. 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack. 631-537-5106, wolffer.com
Borghese Vineyard’s 2015 Afterglow: Borghese’s star dessert wine is a fortified Cabernet Franc with a nose of dark, sweet cherry and cinnamon leading up to an intense palate of fig preserves and spice. This evocative wine is best enjoyed with rich chocolate dessert or cheese. 17150 County Road 48, Cutchogue. 631-734-5111, castellodiborghese.com
Kontokosta Winery’s 2015 Cabernet Franc Reserve: Sip and savor the flavors of dark cherry, white pepper and other notes in this unique blend. 825 North Road, Greenport. 631-477-6977, kontokostawinery.com
Suhru Wines’ 2015 Petit Verdot: Leafy aromatics give way to hints of cranberry and pomegranate that flow onto the palate with a hint of vanilla. 28735 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-603-8127, suhruwines.com
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard’s Merlot 2014: Produced during a banner year for the vineyard, the Merlot exhibits flavors and aromas of blackberry, black cherry and plum, with hints of smoke and vanilla. The palate is structured and rich with mild tannins and a long, lingering finish. 2114 Sound Avenue, Baiting Hollow. 631-369-0100, baitinghollowfarmvineyard.com
Bedell Cellars’ Musée 2014: Bedell’s ultimate expression of North Fork terroir, the Musée boasts a powerful, show-stopping core of ripe fruit with a complex array of flavors and textures nuances. Wine Spectator agrees, this is one of New York’s best. 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-7537, bedellcellars.com
Harbes Vineyard’s 2014 Barrel Fermented Merlot: This wine went through primary and secondary fermentation in oak barrels to become the New York Wine Classic gold medalist that it is today. Wine Enthusiast describes it as a “plusher, more voluptuous expression of sun-kissed berries and cherries, rich in body and texture.” 715 Sound Avenue, Mattituck. 631-298-9463, harbes-wines.square.site
Pindar Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Franc: This unfiltered red wine graces the senses with aromatic nuances of black plum, black cherry and chocolate, a balance of tannins and fruit and a delicate finish. 37645 Main Road, Peconic. 631-734-6200, pindar.net
Raphael’s 2014 Riesling Port: This delightful dessert wine is produced by fortifying Riesling grapes during fermentation with homemade grappa. It offers bright fruit flavors, fresh acidity and a balance of alcohol and residual sugar. 39390 Main Road, Peconic. 631-765-1100, raphaelwine.com
Anthony Nappa Wines’ 2013 Giallo: Literally named “yellow” in Italian, this unique late-harvest dessert wine was aged in un-topped French oak barrels and allowed to oxidize for two years. Wine Advocate describes it as tasting almost like a non-sugary, non-apple cider, while Wine Enthusiast praises its “luminous core of fresh fruit” featuring mango and orange peel flavors. 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic. 774-641-7488, anthonynappawines.com
Clovis Point’s 2013 Brut: “A vintage as good as 2013 is a rare and wonderful thing,” Clovis Point winemaker John Leo writes in his annual vintage notes. Made with grapes that grew through early season rain, a July hot spell and a mild August, the resulting sparkling wine is as remarkable as the vintage it hails from. 1935 Main Road, Jamesport. 631-722-4222, clovispointwines.com
Coffee Pot Cellars’ 2013 Merlot: This Wine Enthusiast Editors’ Choice Merlot offers graphite, spice and smoky aromas, with supple tannins and notes of vanilla, ending in a concentrated tart cherry finish. Through the Merlot for Monarchs Campaign, every bottle sold plants a milkweed at Blossom Meadow Farm to help restore the decimated monarch butterfly population. 31855 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631 765-8929, coffeepotcellars.com
Jamesport Vineyards’ 2013 Estate Glacé: Handpicked in late November after the grapes had frozen to the vine, this resilient white wine offers notes of baked apple, fresh brioche, honey and candied ginger. 1216 Main Road, Jamesport. 631-722-5256, jamesportwines.com
Jason’s Vineyard’s 2013 Malbec: Firm but balanced tannins lead to a clean finish in this estate-grown Malbec that boasts black cherries, cola and white pepper. Enjoy the fruit-forward blend now or wait a few years to meet the more elegant side of Malbec. 1785 Main Road, Jamesport. 631-238-5801, jasonsvineyard.com
Laurel Lake Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Reserve: Silver medalist at the 2019 New York Wine Classic, this opaque, substantial wine hits the palate with toasty, spicy oak and ripe berry flavors, an intense aroma and a velvety finish. It makes for an excellent sipping wine when dining on rich pasta or a hearty steak. 3165 Main Road, Laurel. 631-298-1420, llwines.com
The Old Field Vineyards’ 2013 Commodore Perry Merlot: An exceptional growing season produced a dark, rich wine with flavors of plum, dark cherry and tobacco. This versatile blend pairs well with a variety of meals. 59600 Main Road, Southold. 631-765-0004, theoldfield.com
One Woman Wines’ 2013 Reserve Merlot: Following in the footsteps of its 2012 vintage predecessor, which Wine Enthusiast described as “fruity but elegantly composed,” the 2013 wine gained rapid popularity for its bold flavor. 5195 Old North Road, Southold. 631-765-1200, onewomanwines.com
Paumanok Vineyards’ Apollo Drive Petit Verdot 2013: Made from 100% Petit Verdot from a single block on Apollo Drive, this is one of the finest red wines Paumanok has ever crafted. Spicy with concentrated black fruit flavors and ample tannins, this full-bodied wine is as black as ink though not as brooding as its dark color may imply. A Wine Advocate reviewer sums it up as “seductive, inviting and completely integrating…a big winner.” 1074 Main Road, Aquebogue. 631-722-8800, paumanok.com
Osprey’s Dominion’s Reserve Merlot 2012: Balanced and dense, this expressive red wine offers ripe plum and black cherry flavors framed by smoke and mineral notes, supported by firm, well-integrated tannins. 44075 Main Road, Peconic. 631-765-6188, ospreysdominion.com
Mattebella Vineyards’ 2011 Old World Blend: Made with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, this medium-body red wine features rose petals, blackberry, dark cherry with a hint of pomegranate flavors. The soft, feminine tannins and natural acidity lead to a long, clean finish with a tea-leaf nuance. 46845 Main Road, Southold. 631-655-9554, mattebella.com
Sparkling Pointe’s 2011 Brut Seduction: Discover a super organoleptic profile in this rare mature cuvée. The buttery, gold wine integrates aromas of brioche, almond and toffee with a hint of vanilla pastry, with notes of golden raspberry, honey and orange blossom. 39750 County Road 48, Southold. 631-765-0200, shop.sparklingpointe.com
Duck Walk Vineyards’ Sunset Dessert Wine 2010: This extraordinary white port is made from Chardonnay that’s been aged in old oak for eight years, creating a fortified wine that pairs well with fresh fruit, cheese and cake 44535 Main Road, Southold. 631-765-3500; 231 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. 631-726-7555, duckwalk.com
Macari Vineyards’ 2010 Bergen Road: Macari’s flagship red blend is only made with their top vintages, and this 10-year-old, complex, full-bodied wine certainly lives up to that high standard. With dark chocolate, vanilla and red fruit flavors and a touch of leather on the bouquet, it’s no wonder a Wine Advocate reviewer declared it “one of the finest moments Macari has had.” 150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck. 631-298-0100, macariwines.com
Palmer Vineyards’ Pasión 2008: Channeling their passion for winemaking, Palmer Vineyards captured the essence of Long Island’s Cabernet Franc grape with this rare late-harvest dessert wine. Eight years of aging in French oak barrels gives this wine a finesse that elevates the raspberry, cocoa, black pepper scents and plum, chocolate, vanilla flavors. 5120 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. 631-722-9463, palmervineyards.com
McCall Wines’ 2007 Pinot Noir Reserve: Beginning with aromas of bright red fruit, tobacco and smoke, the first sip of this aged wine brings notes of toast, vanilla, strawberry and cherry, finishing with hints of leather and spice from McCall’s Burgundy-like terroir. 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-5764, mccallwines.com
Lenz Winery’s 2005 Cuvée RD: With the first batch of this popular sparkling wine sold out, Lenz Winery held back several dozen cases to continue the aging process, a practice the French use to create Récemment Dégorgé (RD) Champagne. This extra step brings out a rich, sumptuous, nutty earthiness that overlays the wine’s original muted fruit base. 38355 Main Road, Peconic. 631-734-6010, lenzwine.com
Pellegrini Vineyards’ 2005 Reserve: Dubbed “the pride of Pellegrini Vineyards,” this elegant red blend offers multiple layers of dark fruit, backed with bold tannins and a rich aroma. 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-4111, pellegrinivineyards.com
Channing Daughters Winery’s 2004 Pazzo: Simply put, “Pazzo is delicious.” Literally put, “pazzo” is crazy in Italian. Now in its second bottling, this batch spent seven years in the barrel. Placed outside for several years, these barrels faced the heat of summer and cold of winter, creating a magical elixir of weathered aromas and flavors including figs, caramel, orange peel, Christmas spices, raspberry liqueur, nuts and dried fruit. 1927 Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton. 631-537-7224, channingdaughters.com
If were to ask someone walking along Fifth Avenue to describe the flavor of the East End, you can almost guarantee their mind will go straight to the world-famous lobster rolls and rosé of summer, but that’s not the full picture. The flavors of fall in the Hamptons and on the North Fork are uniquely exquisite and are not something your taste buds can afford to miss. Our East End culinary experts share how they define the flavor of fall and what dish on their menu truly encapsulates that flavor.
“When thinking of fall flavors, what I think of is pumpkin and apple,” Salt & Loft owner Barry Bernstein shares, adding that homemade pumpkin and apple pie are ideal dessert picks to complement the fall specials. “We’re going to have a grilled salmon with a homemade sauce, wilted spinach, crisp fingerling potatoes and mango chutney. And then we’re going to have a grilled New York strip steak with a special steak sauce, paired with cream spinach and potatoes.” 145 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. saltandloft.com
Cappelletti owner Luigi Tagliasacchi agrees that pumpkins are a great addition to any fall menu, as are roasted acorn squashes with butter. His pumpkin offerings include pumpkin soup and the wildly popular pumpkin ravioli with sweet butter. “We do it traditionally Parmigiano style from Parma—with Parmigiano-Reggiano and local pumpkins in it,” he says of the ravioli. “That’s one of our mainstays for the fall!” 3284 Noyack Road, Sag Harbor. cappellettirestaurant.com
When contemplating the flavor of fall, Pierre’s owner Pierre Weber’s finely-tuned palate immediately calls to mind one of the French restaurant’s most famous lobster dishes. “It is the flavor of a lobster bisque with grated gruyère and a safran rouille, [paired with] a glass of Gigondas, of course,” he says. 2468 Main Street, Bridgehampton. pierresbridgehampton.com
“Fall on the stretch is special—it stays warmer longer and the sunsets are breathtaking,” says Leigh Goodstein, manager of Clam Bar at Napeague. “Warm fall sun pairs great with a plate of ice-cold oysters and a Wölffer rosé cider. When the evenings get chilly, you can’t go wrong with a warm bowl of steamers and a hearty Montauk Pumpkin Ale.” 2025 Montauk Highway, Napeague. clambarhamptons.com
“We love cooking with seasonal vegetables at Elaia Estiatorio. Fall cooking brings us earthy flavors, vibrant colors and ingredients with loads of nutritional sources,” says chef Radu Grigore. “The Kolokythi Tis Epochis at Elaia is a delicious, nutritious, autumnal salad featuring local roasted organic acorn squash, organic pink lady apples, feta cheese, mint, pistachios and an apple cider honey dressing.” 95 School Street, Bridgehampton. elaiaestiatorio.com
Like Grigore, The Halyard at Sound View chef Stephan Bogardus’s favorite fall dish on the menu is a fresh, locally sourced salad—specifically the Thai Style Sweet Potato Salad made with wild rice, peanut, coconut and fish sauce caramel. “The smell of entering a room with the oven on and the sweet aromas of roots slowly roasting is pleasing on so many levels,” he says. “We live with one hand on the land and one in the sea. Sweet potatoes from the earth in fish sauce from the sea. This dish brings out a combination of smell, taste, aroma and our identity.” 58775 Route 48, Greenport. thehalyardgreenport.com
Choosing favorites isn’t as easy for John Papas, owner of the eponymous John Papas Café. “I have so many items, so it’s a very difficult question for me,” he says, noting that when it comes to popular specials, however, the answer is clear. “Stuffed turkey is a very popular dish now, and everybody who’s technically on a diet loves that dish, with our stuffing and everything. I used to serve it every Thursday!” 18 Park Plaza, East Hampton. 631-324-5400.
As with most Greek restaurants, lamb is a key ingredient on the Calissa menu, but chef Bob Abrams explains that the dishes it’s incorporated into do shift with the seasons. “Whereas in the summertime we prepare whole spring lamb slow cooked over coals, we turn to more comforting and casual preparations in the fall,” he says. “Lamb plays well with most fall flavors with its rich spice and light gaminess and is also a great pair with lighter red wines. One of our favorite dishes is the Saganaki Burger—the crispy graviera cheese is a perfect pairing with the minted tzatziki sauce and umami-rich burger. Fall in the Hamptons is more than just a change in temperature and flavor; it’s also a time to take a breath and relax after the insanity of summer out East and prepare for the rest of the year—Calissa is open year round. Our Saganaki Burger plus a glass of Greek red wine encapsulates fall at Calissa.” 1020 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. calissahamptons.com
“When I think of fall, the flavor of roasted squash, pumpkin and hearty herbs like sage and thyme come to mind. It is the beginning of stew and soup season! And it is also the beginning of apple season, which means spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg come in to play,” says chef Justin Finney of Highway Restaurant & Bar in East Hampton. In his expert opinion, no dish on the menu better encapsulates the flavor fall than the apple crumble. “Using a variety of local apples from the Milk Pail farm and all the fall spices, it is the perfect way to end your meal at Highway!” 290 Montauk Highway, East Hampton. highwayrestaurant.com
With the changing of the season, Main Street Tavern chef Yusuf Lovett shares that his team has all things warm and comforting on the mind. “This is why our Biscuit, Sausage and Pickles is a great fall addition to our menu,” he says. “Everything you see on the plate is made in-house, including the pork and garlic sausage, which was produced from a whole pig we bought and butchered in an effort to responsibly serve quality meat.” 177 Main Street, Amagansett. mainstreettavern.com
This fall, Kissaki chef and partner Mark Garcia recommends the “Samma” fish, or Pacific saury. “In Japanese characters, it is written 秋刀魚—this literally means autumn-swordfish, because it represents fish of autumn, and its brilliant and slender body reminds us of a Japanese sword.” 670 Montauk Highway Suite E, Water Mill. explorekissaki.com