One great aspect of choosing to write about North Fork wineries for a blog is that there is not much risk of running out of material. Not only do wineries change their offerings with each new harvest—necessitating return visits—but new wineries are constantly springing up. Case in point, as Rod Serling liked to say, Kontokosta Winery in Greenport, which opened its very attractive doors on June 12th. As you head east towards Orient Point on Sound Avenue you pass a flashing light, where you could turn to head into Greenport. Instead, stay straight and you’ll come to a gate on your left, which leads to a long gravel drive and then to a parking lot next to a large imposing building, bracketed by vines, a view of Long Island Sound, and a tall windmill, about which more later.
Inside, the spacious tasting room is sleekly modern in style, with a serene black and white color scheme. We note several tables where a happy party is taking photos of themselves and a long tasting bar. We find a space at the bar, where a lovely young woman explains the choices to us. All the servers are clad in black shirts with the Kontokostas logo on the chest, a discreet three red bars. One of the servers is a gentleman we recognize from several other venues, including the Tasting Room and Empire Cellars, and he assures us we are about to experience some terrific wines. A tasting consists of four one ounce pours for $10, chosen from a menu of ten wines, five white and five red. There’s also a three-pour tasting and wines by the glass. We opt for two four-wine flights, one of white and then one of red, both of which we share, skipping the rosé and the Blum Merlot.
- NV Anemometer White $16
Why Anemometer, we ask, noticing the representation of a spinning anemometer on the bottle? The winery is very proud of its use of wind power, our server notes, and in fact everything on the property is powered by wind. Our friend from other venues notes that on a very windy day you can see the electric meter spin backward, so that LIPA ends up owing them money. On to the wine, which is a blend, though primarily sauvignon blanc. Refreshing, we agree, with an aroma of Meyer lemon and mineral, with tastes of citrus and honeysuckle at the end. This would be good for summer sipping, and also would go well with turkey dishes. Very buyable!
2. 2009 Orient Chardonnay $17
The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard in Orient, hence the name. A lightly oaked chard, this is just okay, and a bit sour. There’s plenty of orangey-lemon tastes, and some oak at the end, but we don’t find it particularly pleasant.
3. 2012 Sauvignon Blanc $25
Not surprisingly, we find this wine reminds us of the Anemometer White, though with some different tastes. Overall it is a bit sweet for us, with aromas of honeysuckle and green plum and tastes of wildflower honey with a vegetal note at the end. My husband says green beans…not sure I agree. This is the first wine they made here.
4. 2010 Viognier $25
Bedell is the only other North Fork winery to use this grape, so we are interested to see how it compares. At Bedell we had their 2011 Viognier, which we found very pleasing, with complex spicy fruit and citrus flavors. This one has aromas of blood orange and peach, with peachy tastes and some tannins, but not so complex.
5. Anemometer Red 2006 $19
I would expect this to be a blend, but it is 100% syrah, we are told. The aroma has some of that East End barnyard smell, plus red berry, and the taste reminds us of red sucking candy. While not for sipping, this would be okay with food, such as pork chops.
6. 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon $22
We smell ripe berries and plums, and not much earth, and taste lots of fruit, with a nice dry finish. I’d love this with a nice medium-rare duck breast, and it could stand up to steak as well.
7. 2007 Merlot $29
Again we smell that earthy barnyard aroma, plus some mineral. This is just okay—dry, with decent fruit, but a bit of a chemical acetone taste at the end. You could have this with a rich pork dish and it would be fine, but it is overpriced for what it is.
8. 2007 Cabernet Franc $29
“This is one of my favorites,” enthuses our server, and we can see why, as it is definitely the best of the reds, with lots of fruit and a lovely aroma of ripe berries, not too sweet but not too dry, either. Oh, she adds, all the reds are aged in new French oak.
After we finish the wines, we are offered tastes of three olive oils they are selling—all for $28—an extra virgin, a Minneola tangelo and a jalapeῆo lime. They’re nice, but we’ll stick with Vines and Branches. We also learn that the winery is proud of its use of recycled materials in its construction, which is partly reflected in their slogan, “Sound Life, Sound Wine,” or as they say on their FaceBook page, “Registered with the USGBC under the LEED New Construction 2009 rating system, our winery has been designed to meet the gold certification level. To meet these high standards, the building is constructed of 100% recycled steel and reclaimed wood siding, and will be powered by wind energy.”
We enjoy the view out the large window to the Long Island Sound on this lovely June day as we wrap up our visit with the purchase of a bottle of the Anemometer White.
Reasons to visit: You’re in Greenport without a car and you’d like to go to a winery; you’ve tried all the others and are looking for a new winery; Anemometer White and 07 Cabernet Franc; the chance to appreciate a lovely view while doing a tasting; you’re on your way to the Hellenic and have some time to kill before dinner.