I’ve been tasting a range of wines from the East End of Long Island in recent weeks, mainly from the North Fork, where the vast majority of the region’s 60 or so vineyards and wineries are located. Among others, two under-$20 wines stand out for casual, warm-weather summer drinking.
Macari Vineyards’ 2010 “Early Wine” Chardonnay brings to mind green apples and lime and may be this region’s best answer to Portugal’s Vinho Verde with its fresh and fruity style and, as far as American wines are concerned, its relatively low alcohol, which is listed as 11.5 percent. It was harvested by the winery in Mattituck late last August, fermented without oak and bottled less than six weeks later. Served quite cold on a warm and humid evening, it was a delightful apéritif and will serve well accompanying local fluke, either sautéed or marinated into ceviche, or with fried calamari or clams. Production was 1,045 cases. $17.
When friends invited us over last weekend for grilled pizza, the best of several wines we tried with these delicious homemade pies was Lieb Family Cellars’ 2008 Right Coast Red, an easy drinking yet interesting blend of 45 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, 20 percent cab franc, 12 percent malbec and three percent petit verdot. Lots of red and dark fruit here, with blackberry, blueberry and raspberry notes, a subtle overlay of cedar and a peppery note. Yummy wine. The $30 price tag surprised me, but I guess that’s part of the price of drinking “local.” I also like that the bottle has a screw cap. Alcohol is 13.5 percent. Wines received as press samples.