Happy hump day! It is time for a visit to wine country. Today, I am going recommend the wine we had with dinner at the Basil Café. We had a Pinot Grigio white wine. Ken and Bebe had brought this same wine with them on Saturday to dinner. I have had this particular wine MANY moons ago at their home.
As with any of the white wines I drink, I like my Pinot Grigio ice cold. A friend suggested I use an ice bucket of half water and half ice. This seems to work very nicely. I find too many places try to use all ice and then can never get the bottle all the way back in the bucket.
This particular Pinot Grigio tastes nicely on its own but I rarely find myself drinking just wine without eating anything. Since white wines are usually enjoyed at the beginning of the meal, appetizers would be best to pair with it.
I have several ideas in mind for summer appetizers and wine. The first that comes to mind is my Caprese salad recipe. Then, there is a fresh asparagus wrap in Prosciutto, since I have prosciutto left from last night. I also like Hormel Genoa Salami wrapped around some nice mozzarella cheese or Bruschetta on garlic crostini. If you want posh, try making Oysters on the half shell with cocktail sauce or fried oysters with a remoulade dipping sauce. Then there is more casual Avocado….well with anything.
I’m getting hungry. I need company and to get to cooking. Let me know what you make, or if you’re living vicariously through me, I want the oysters, clams, or shrimp! I think this will be a seafood weekend. I will see food and eat it!
Until tomorrow, be well, eat well, and cook fresh!
This past Sunday, I went out to the east end of Long Island to “wine country”. It is no Napa Valley, California by any means, but it’s close by and a fun day trip. The purpose for the trip was to pick up Scott’s wine order from the Bedell Winery. I was up for nice Sunday drive, a cold glass of wine, and a bite of cheese. We were also meeting another couple that lives out there.
Our first stop was Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue. This is where we would pick up Scott’s wine and meet Gary and Jenitha. We have all done the wine tour thing together before but have not seen each other since the Covid nightmares. I was looking forward to seeing them again. When we arrived, Scott ordered everything off the charcuterie menu and had it brought to the table, where we sat right on the edge of the patio looking out onto the fields of grapes. The view was breathtaking.
Scott ordered two bottles of white wine. One was the Bedell’s famous Viognier and the second was a lovely Pinot Gris. Just as the wine arrived, so did Gary and Jenitha. It had been well over a year since we had seen Gary and Jenitha, and as always, they looked amazing, all tan and fit. It felt a little like a family reunion with people from a faraway state, like Florida. Now there were six of us. We were all ready for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon of sipping wine and munching on snacks. The first snack was a bag of this really cool heirloom popcorn called Pipcorn.
The Bedell charcuterie menu has a nice selection of cured meats including salamis and prosciutto that quickly came to our table. In addition, we now had cheese and crackers to go with it. They also have the smallest jars of fig jam I have ever seen. I’m laughing now to myself just thinking about it, as my last fig jam post was with grilled cheese, and that was only yesterday.
The weather was warm with a nice breeze keeping us cool. It could not have been better, unless I was on a boat and was being bobbed gently up and down by the waves splashing again the side of a boat. The breeze just added to the perfect day. We sat, talked, and drank wine while we snacked. Soon, the crowd started to arrive and so did an oyster company with fresh oysters on the half shell. Scott wasted no time in seeing if we wanted oysters next. Alison and I jumped at the chance for fresh oysters. Scott returned, announcing the oysters would soon be here. Then, he asked what wine we wanted next. We all agreed that the Viognier was the way to go.
The oyster woman was at our table just as the next bottle of wine arrived and was placed in the ice bucket. She had more than oysters with her; Scott also ordered us the shrimp cocktail. The oysters were small and looked very appetizing. I was far too busy now chatting and eating to take pictures. UGH, please forgive me. Jennifer ALWAYS makes a face when I start taking pictures of my food. Then I feel bad taking too many photos. I feel like I am making everyone wait to eat while I snap shots of what is on the table. Almost as soon as the oyster woman left, I dug right in and had an oyster on the half shell with Alison. I used just a bit of the cocktail sauce on mine while she used some kind of mixture vinegar and shallots that came with the oysters on hers. The Oysters were off the CHAIN! Then, I had to have a shrimp after Gary said how good they were. They were cooked perfectly and the cocktail sauce was good as well. The cocktail sauce was spicy with just the right amount horseradish and tobasco. Yum. Although, I could ALWAYS use more horseradish in cocktail sauce. Alison thinks I’m nuts when I use that much horseradish. After the shrimp, and a sip of wine, it was back to a perfectly shucked oyster. This time, Alison convinced me to try the vinegar and shallot stuff on top. It was really good! It all went so well with the Pinot Gris wine. I totally recommend getting oysters at Bedell if they are there when you are. Bedell does not shuck the oysters themselves; it was a local outside company. I wish I got their name. Maybe I should call Bedell and ask. The oysters were that good!
Our next stop was the Jamesport Vineyard. We went here mostly for the food and the estate Riesling orange. They have a wood burning pizza oven and the handmade pizza looks like it would be amazing. However, we did not get pizza. We ordered warm olives and the Burrata over salad greens. The olives were very good and the Burrata was yummy! It went with the wine perfectly.
The last place, yes, we hit three vineyards, was The Sherwood House. We came here for something they call a white merlot. The wine’s full name was Oregon Road White Merlot and it had that salty taste, but other than that it was very good. The flavor profile changed when I had the potato chips with it.
Now, about the all these Long Island wines: Bedell and Raphael vineyards seem to be the only two wineries I have found so far that do not have the “Long Island Salty Taste” that I do not like. At Bedell, I particularly like the Viognier, and their other white wines and rosé are very good as well. I keep a few bottles on hand just in case company comes over. When it comes to that distinct Long Island taste that I do not like, at our last stop, a young man put it this way: “it is a salty taste, perhaps from us being so close to the ocean.” Yes, that makes sense now! Here, at our third location, we were eating the local potato chips and the wine was MUCH better!
By now, Jen was in excruciating pain. She had been a real trooper not to complain, but it was time to get her home and put some ice on her back. Thank god there was none of the usual east end traffic heading back to New York City. We were home in record time, about an hour and a half, as Jennifer drove trying to avoid all the potholes and bumps on the Long Island Expressway.
Even though I drank way too much, I didn’t wake up with a headache and Jennifer managed to put up with my chatty drunkenness. A good time was had by all and I am looking forward to seeing Gary, Jenitha, Scott, and Ally soon for our next wine tasting adventure.
If you live in Manhattan or right here on Long Island, it is a nice limousine ride out here. The wine isn’t bad, but really come for the food, atmosphere, and the friendly people. Thank you EVERYONE for a super fun day!
Until tomorrow’s post, be well, drink well, and enjoy life!