Kontokosta: The Far East August 28, 2018
East of Greenport sits the last winery on the North Fork wine trail: Kontokosta. We were there on yet another of the ridiculously hot and humid days of this hot and humid August, but a small contingent of our party braved the heat to hike the property to a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound. Then they returned to the tasting room, red-cheeked and sweaty, to be revived with Kontokosta’s own sparkling water and grape soda. It may have been the effect of the heat, but one member of our party who describes herself as a “grape soda connoisseur” said it was the best grape soda she’d ever had.
The rest of us stayed inside and shared tastings and glasses of wine, enjoying the air-conditioning and the company of each other—and the wine. We sat at one of the long tables in Kontokosta’s airy, modern tasting room, transporting our tastings to the table ourselves. A tasting consists of your choice of any three of their twelve wines for $16. My husband and I decided that we would share a tasting of three whites and another of three reds, since it is a one-ounce pour. So clearly, we could return for a completely different set of six tastes, which we may yet do.
They also offer a menu of snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. No dogs or outside food allowed.
- 2017 Viognier $25
The aroma is sweet, of honeysuckle and peach, and the taste has some peachiness as well. One friend described it as an “unctuous peachiness,” and we went on the discuss its appropriateness as an aperitif. “It’s a crowd pleaser,” he said. We also thought it would pair well with a chicken dish that had either a white sauce of something citrusy, or perhaps charcuterie. It’s a refreshing, pleasant white.
- 2016 Field Blend $22
A field blend means just what it sounds like—a blend of various grapes, all grown in the same field. This one blends 50% riesling, 30% viognier, and 20% sauvignon blanc. The aroma is mostly mineral, and the wine itself is super dry, rather tart, with not much fruit. It really needs to be drunk with food, but since we had just had a big delicious lunch at the Olive Branch café in Greenport, we were not about to buy any snacks. We were not particularly fond of this one.
- 2014 Anemometer White $35
Another blend, this time of 45% chardonnay, 40% sauvignon blanc, and 15% viognier, Anemometer (the name a reference to the windmill which provides much of their power) is aged in neutral French oak, so it is not too oaky. There is a subtle vanilla aroma, but also minerality. One friend compares it to a Chablis, not surprising given the chardonnay in it. The taste combines minerality, pineapple, some tropical fruit, and a touch of saltiness. I don’t usually like oaked chardonnays, but this one has only a hint of butteriness. Our friend says it is rather rich for a white, and could actually go with a steak, albeit not one with a lot of taste. Maybe a filet mignon with a sauce that included some of the wine?
- 2014 Cabernet Franc $29
Now we move on to our second group of three, the reds. We asked the server for her recommendations, not having any reason to choose one red over another, and this was her first pick, as she noted it scored 90 points in Wine Enthusiast. It’s good, fairly light for a red, with lots of fruit aroma and dried fruit tastes, with some tannins.
- 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve $40
I often wonder about wines labeled “reserve,” and priced higher than the same grape from the same place. However, this wine is actually better than the previous one. The aroma combines dark fruits like black cherry, plus pepper. It has more character than the other cab franc, and is softer and less tannic. It would go well with duck, like the duck breasts from Bayview we plan to barbeque that evening.
- 2014 Anemometer Red $50
When they first opened, the anemometers were their least expensive wines, but now they are the most expensive. This one is a blend of 40% cabernet franc, 22% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, and 18% syrah, which makes it their Bordeaux type. Meh. I much prefer the Cabernet Franc Reserve. Not a lot of fruit to this one, nor is it at all complex. One friend notes that it is “not challenging to drink,” and reminds him of a rioja. Lots of tannins, so maybe given time…
Reasons to visit: pretty setting on the shore of Long Island Sound; modern, airy tasting room; menu of snacks; the Viognier and the Cabernet Franc Reserve; the grape soda.