Parades are a more commonplace sight on the North Fork than Pinot Noir vines. The former is natural fit to this civic- minded community while the latter is a decided challenge, given the region’s rather marginal growing conditions. But this past weekend, I managed to fit in both my first North Fork holiday parade (in the rain, in Greenport) and my first taste of a very nice North Fork Pinot Noir.
Of the parade, there isn’t much more to say than there seem to be a lot of marching bands on Long Island – some of which have a surprisingly high number of female musicians- and of the Pinot Noir, well, it was a very pleasant surprise. They came from Russ McCall’s vineyard in Cutchogue (he makes two- one “basic” Pinot and one “Reserve”). The former was pretty and juicy with lively strawberry notes, the latter more deeply colored and intense. Neither wine is on the market- at least not yet. And whether or not they portend some future promise for Long Island Pinot Noir, I just don’t know (though I think, given the fickleness of Pinot, probably not.) In the meantime, the delicious 2008 McCall Vineyard rose is very much around- I’ve seen it on several North Fork wine lists, including A Mano and the North Fork Table and Inn.