I heard from my friends the Massouds that they’ve been harvesting Cabernet Franc these past few days- the weather has been uncommonly warm and sunny – at last. But I’ve been in Manhattan this week so I haven’t been around to enjoy it. But the North Fork is never far from my mind. Nor are its wines. In fact, I found a great selection of North Fork wines on Sutton Place yesterday at First Avenue Vintner (www.firstavenuevintner.com) a shop on First Avenue and 54th street that I just happened to walk past, on my way back from lunch with a friend.
The map in the window tipped me and my friend Tony off. “What a great map of Long Island wineries,” I said, and pointed out the vineyards that were my closest neighbors. “Let’s see what kind of wines he has inside.” Tony was skeptical. “Do they really have good wines out there?” Once inside, Tony gravitated to a wine with a violently orange label. “See, this is the kind of wine I would buy,” he said. (Tony drinks more vodka than wine by his own admission so his taste in labels can be discounted.) I ignored him and made a beeline for the back where the North Fork wines were arranged.
There were about a dozen wineries represented - including Jamesport, Lenz, Shinn Estate and Croteaux Vineyards, and about twice as many different labels on display. When I commented on the depth of selection to Rob, the store’s manager, he nodded. “The owner, Mitch, has a house in Orient Point.” And the map, where did it come from? It was a particularly nice map of the North Fork. Could I buy a copy of it for myself? “Oh you can’t buy that; Mitch had it made,” Rob replied. Perhaps when I got home I’d track Mitch down to ask for his cartographer’s name.