We should have known better than to try to go to a winery on a non-beach Sunday over Memorial Day weekend. But we had friends visiting, and we wanted to take them to Croteaux for a tasting. As we headed east, we passed winery after winery where the parked cars had spilled over onto lawns and roadsides. Uh oh. And indeed, Croteaux was filled, with Michael Croteau outside, waving off cars trying to cram into his small lot. Where to go? Our friends hadn’t been to Kontokosta since shortly after it opened, and we figured that as far east as it is, and as big as the tasting room is, we would be able to get in there.
We were right, and even though parking there had also extended to a grassy area, there was room at one of the long tables in the tasting room for us to sit and enjoy our tasting. However, by the time we left, it was SRO! We also observed many people who had chosen to take a glass of wine out onto the expansive lawn and wander down to the Long Island Sound, visible in the distance.
A tasting consists of any three wines from the menu for $12, so we decided to get three whites and three reds, not tasting the rosé or a few of the others, while our friends opted to share a tasting. Maybe next time we’ll check out the others. We also got a couple of bags of my favorite chips—North Fork Potato Chips. If you haven’t tried them, do. They are crispy kettle-fried chips, and totally addictive. Kontokosta also has a menu of cheeses and charcuterie, plus non-alcoholic drinks. The server poured out our nine tastes, explaining each one, and we took our glasses to a table.
- 2015 Sauvignon Blanc $25
We were talking about getting some oysters later, so we decided to start with what is often a perfect oyster wine. This wine smelled great—like mango and flowers—and tasted pretty good, too. We found it tart, with some nice kiwi and vegetable tastes, with a pleasant finish. One nice detail—it was not served too cold!
- 2015 Viognier $25
Sometimes I think I like to order this wine because the name is fun to say. In any event, I don’t think I would choose this particular viognier. My husband’s first judgement was “restrained flavors,” to which I added “undistinguished.” It has a bit of a wet basement smell, though also some minerality. The taste is very light and uncomplicated.
- 2015 Field Blend $22
Our friend also ordered this one, and she immediately categorized it as a “dessert wine.” It is on the sweet side, though not cloyingly so. A blend of 47% riesling, 41% viognier, and 12% sauvignon blanc, it has a candy and honeysuckle aroma and tastes like peaches. We decided it could go with spicy Thai food, where the fruit of the wine would match well with the coconut and peppers of Thai, but not so well with Indian dishes. You could also have it with charcuterie.
- 2014 Merlot $34
The server tipped the end of the bottle into our glass, which meant we ended up with a fair amount of sediment. Oh well. This is a pretty typical North Fork merlot, with lots of cherry tastes, pleasantly dry, with some tastes of tobacco and chocolate. Nice.
- 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon $29
We liked this one better, with lots of dark fruit tastes like purple plums and berries, plus some tannins. It is more complex than the merlot, though the finish is quite short. Dry.
- 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve $40
Though, as is often the case with Long Island reds, we felt it was not worth the price—and our friends, who also tried this, agreed—it is very nice indeed, with fruity aromas and soft tannins. We tasted raspberries and a touch of spice, like pepper. If I were to get a glass with which to wander down to the water, I would choose this.
- 2013 Anemometer Red $50
Our friends also tried this one, and said it was very good. A Bordeaux-style blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot, it has lots of oak and cherry tastes.
Reasons to visit: a pretty location next to Long Island Sound, walking distance from Greenport; the sauvignon blanc and the cabernet sauvignon; an attractive modern tasting room with a soaring ceiling and long tables; usually not too crowded, even on busy days—except not this past weekend!