April 20, 2022
This time, our guests were a pair of sophisticated Manhattanites, who spend weeks at a time in Italy, where they often visit wineries, so we knew we needed to find a winery that was equally sophisticated. We also needed a place where we could offer them lunch with their tasting, plus they had almost never been to the North Fork, and we wanted to give them a bit of a tour. After some cogitation, we decided Kontokosta, just a little bit past Greenport’s Main Street, fit the bill in all particulars.
They arrived before noon, giving us plenty of time before our reservation—which is required, and is held with a fee of $5 per person—to have a leisurely drive east. (Reservations are via Tock, which seems to work about the same as Open Table, etc.) As I drove, I pointed out the various wineries and other sites along Sound Avenue, giving a bit of information about each, feeling very much like a tour guide. Our guests noted how rural it is out here, and admired the beginnings of spring blooms.
One aspect of Kontokosta I appreciate is their eco-consciousness. They use a windmill to generate electricity, and serve their wines in those corn-based “non-plastic plastic” cups, also used by Old Field. Snacks are served on bamboo plates, with bamboo utensils (though the bamboo knife did not do a great job of slicing the cheese). They say they farm “sustainably,” whatever that means.
The outside of the tasting room is deceptively rural, looking like an old barn, while the inside is sleek and modern, in stark black and white. We were greeted at the door, where our reservation was confirmed, and we were each given a wine glass to keep. So I guess each glass cost $5! We were directed to the bar, at the far end of the room, where a friendly server guided us to a snack menu and a tasting menu. We ordered two cheeses, some crackers, and a plate of sliced salami while we perused the wines.
A tasting consists of three wines for $18, but on this day they added either of the rosés for free, since they are having a special sale on the rosés. It was hard to choose from the menu of thirteen wines, but my husband and I and our guests decided each couple would share one tasting, and mostly got the same wines so we could discuss. I may go back some time to try more of their wines. Our tastings were delivered to our table in small cups, in a wooden holder, with each cup labeled as to the wine in it. The taste is rather small.
We spent a pleasant afternoon sipping and tasting, and the snacks proved more than adequate for lunch. Afterwards, we took our guests for a brief stroll around Greenport, and then drove home via Main Road, so they could see the towns of Southold and Cutchogue and Mattituck.
- 2020 Orient Chardonnay $22
We all liked this interesting chard, with its lovely flowery aroma and tastes of peach and citrus. I mentioned that I thought it went very well with the cheddar and salami. I used to think that cheese and charcuterie demanded red wines, but I have come to prefer whites. My friend called it “vibrant.” Nice description.
- 2020 Viognier $29
We differed on our second white, since they got the Field Blend. I liked the viognier, too. It has some taste of nectarine, and smells flowery. It has a touch of lime at the end, and I think it would be good to have with seafood in a cream sauce.
- 2020 Field Blend $25
Our guests described this as “light and summery.”
- 2020 White Merlot $29 (half off if you buy six bottles)
We were somewhat disappointed in this wine, since white merlots are often quite tasty. This was extremely light, and, as my tasting buddy noted, “monochromatic,” one of his favorite wine description words for wines he finds boring. It tasted more like a white than a rosé, and even with a 50% discount, neither of us was interested in buying it.
- 2016 Merlot $29
Since merlot is the most characteristic red wine on the North Fork, we decided to have that as our final taste. This is a fairly typical NoFo merlot, with cherry taste and aroma, dry, with a touch of oak/tobacco. One guest called it “chewy.”
- 2020 Rosé $29
Since this rosé is also half off if you buy six, our guest decided to try a glass of it, pouring off a sip for us to taste. We liked it better than the white merlot, as it has more strawberry taste and aroma, but not enough to get six bottles.
Reasons to Visit: you want a winery close to Greenport; you want to have some snacks with your tasting; the Orient Chardonnay, the Viognier, and the Merlot; the property overlooks the Sound, and you can stroll down to a bluff overlooking the water.
Love this vineyard but it is important to note their major limitations: no dogs, no children whatsoever. We can never visit since we have both.
Good comment! I’ll try to note those limitations in the future.