By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
This weekend, Long Island wineries are pulling out all the stops to help you woo your Valentine and make your Hallmark holiday a special one.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one more time that Long Island Winterfest kicks off this weekend with live, free jazz at tasting rooms across the North Fork. Visit liwinterfest.com for a complete listing of performances and special deals from wineries, B&Bs and other local businesses.
Winterfest runs for the next six weekends, but if you don't like jazz, local wineries have plenty of offer this weekend anyway.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that most wineries offer something special for. Often it's chocolate pairing -- which I think is a hugely overrated idea that ruins both the chocolate and the wine -- but that's not all that is going on.
And with the right types of chocolate, even those clash-pairings can be interesting on some level.
Some of this weekend's Long Island winery Valentine offerings include:
Clovis Point is offering a special pre-release tasting of three 2007 reds — cabernet franc, merlot and a blend named Archeology. And, you get two pieces of dark chocolate filled with merlot. This special is $15 per person unless you’re a member of their wine club. In that case, it’s $10. Reservations aren’t necessary.
On Sunday, Duck Walk North will be serving special tasting flights too. For $6 you get five wines presented with five sweets. They are doing the same at sister winery Pindar Vineyards, with the added bonus of a free taste of their always tasty sparkling wine.
Lieb Family Cellars gets in on the chocolate and wine pairing too with artisanal chocolate made by Bon Bons Chocalatier in Huntingon. The cost is $18 for non-club members and $12 for members. Best of all the tasting is a generous portion and can be shared. Don’t miss the 2005 Blanc de Blancs.
One of my favorite little tasting rooms, Waters Crest Winery, is partnering with pastry chef Michelle Gillette, author of “Cooking with Chef Michelle” for a special event on Sunday. From 12-2 p.m. $15 per person gets you four luscious treats and a glass of wine. Seats are limited, so make your reservations early. Additionally, with a bottle purchase you will receive a hand-painted wine glass -- if you're into such things.
The Old Field isn’t doing the same-old same-old with chocolate or other sweets. Instead, they invite you to come to their tasting barn this weekend, taste their wines and enter for a chance to win a free case of 2002 Merlot. 2002 was a highly under-rated vintage, so it’s worth the trip out to Southhold.
Family-friendly Palmer Vineyards is offering dark chocolates with your tasting flight all weekend.
Roanoke Vineyards is having two special events this weekend. On Saturday enjoy Roanoke’s newly released Blend One and Blend Two with organic cookies from Alley O’ — dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Then on Saturday, if cheese is your thing, stop by to taste the same wines with cheeses chosen by cheese guru Michael Cavinola.
And finally, Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards is hosting something completely different on Saturday for their “Osprey Lovefest.” Along with live music, they are presenting a wine and sushi pairing with Rick Takemoto. You get five tastes for $20.
This is a mere sampling of what Long Island wine country has to offer this weekend. The snow should be cleared by then, so take advantage of the fun.