A couple months ago, I devoted my column space to what has become the de facto “signature variety” for Long Island wine country: merlot. There are approximately 700 acres of merlot planted on Long Island — roughly 30 percent of the total vineyard acreage — and there are reasons for that. It grows and ripens dependably and consistently, even in all but the most horrid of vintages. That’s important here and why it’s the backbone of the industry. But the East End isn’t like many parts of Europe where regulations dictate what grapes can be grown where. Long Island growers…
What wine should you bring to a party? An age-old dilemma. Here is my latest crush:
2014 Ampeleia “Unlitro”
You’ve probably already figured out that it’s a big 1-liter bottle. (File under “D” for “DUH”.) So Unlitro is already the #partystarter. What’s on the inside is a light (12.5% alcohol), fresh, fun red wine. A Grenache-based wine, Unlitro hails from the Tuscan coast. I shouldn’t be surprised by how good it is since Elisabetta Foradori is one of the winery’s founders. If you haven’t tried her Teroldego, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Go directly to a wine shop and buy a bunch of bottles.
BTW, that brick wall? That’s my room in the East Village. I’ll be here until mid-January, when Brooklyn comes calling. I picked up my Unlitro for $20* at Discovery Wines, a short stroll from my place. For wine-drinking in the area, I’ve been parking myself at Fifty Paces. The food is good and the staff is chill and friendly. I’m also very fond of the steps-away, no-nonsense Sophie’s, where I spent Thanksgiving eve watching Sixteen Candles on the TV via closed captioning while random early 90s music played.
Here’s a much nicer photo of the bottle:
Above photo by Andrea Scaramuzza. Label by Francesca Ballarini.
*Remember that this is a 1L bottle so Unlitro is 1 1/3 bottles-worth.
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Two weeks after I spent the better part of a day picking and processing grapes at Southold Farm+Cellar, parts of my body still ache. Yes, that’s a commentary on my present level of physical fitness — and no one would ever suggest that picking grapes is work meant for someone who stands 6 feet, 3 inches — but it’s also a reminder of all of the hard work that goes into the wines we love drinking so much. Most people picture the life of a winemaker as an artistic, romantic one spent walking through vineyards, examining the grapes, perhaps…