Thursday, April 5th is your chance to try limited run, local Long Island wines from Paumanok Vineyards. And nothing pairs better with these exclusive vintages than an Old World five-course meal. This special farm-to-table menu features the delicious flavors of Germany, curated perfectly to highlight this outstanding wine selection. View the full menu.
Don’t miss your chance to try these choice wines from Paumanok Vineyards, which uses only estate-grown grapes, yielding a limited production of fewer than 12,000 cases. Paumanok has earned accolades including wine service at The White House, Wine Spectator’s Critic’s Choice Award and NY Wine & Food Classic’s “Winery of the Year” Award.
To get the full story of Paumanok Vineyards, Bistro 72 sat down with Kareem Massoud, a second generation winemaker who learned the trade under his father’s tutelage. His international travels to South Africa, Germany, France, New Zealand and Chile have given him a wide range of experience in the art of winemaking. In this interview, Massoud shares what makes Paumanok such a special Long Island vineyard and some details about its surprising beginnings.
Tell me about the history of Paumanok Vineyards.
Shortly after my parents got married, my dad transferred to Kuwait while working for IBM. The thing they quickly realized about Kuwait is that it is dry – both a very arid country, and a country where you cannot purchase alcohol. Because my mother has winemaking in her family, they bought grapes at the market and made wine in their apartment.
Years later, my parents found themselves raising a family in the States, still infatuated with the idea of becoming winemakers, but not wanting to uproot their family and move to another winegrowing country far from the East Coast. One day, they read about the Hargraves family launching the first vineyard in the North Fork of Long Island, and it was a sudden epiphany – “Maybe we could open a vineyard here?” At the the time, it was a big gamble. But today, we’re one of the oldest wineries in the Long Island area still owned and operated by the original founders.
What processes do you use to produce a perfect wine?
At Paumanok we use a dense planting method. This forces the plants to compete, which stresses the vine. The more you stress the vine, the higher quality the fruit will be.
What makes Long Island’s North Fork a good place to grow grapes?
We’re an island with a maritime climate and that defines our terroir. The grapevines we grow, Vitis vinifera, are very temperature sensitive. Long Island is attractive to winemakers because the setting, an island surrounded by cool ocean, acts as air conditioners in summer and heat sinks in the winter.
What flavors should someone look for in Long Island wine?
Long Island wines have nice balance, which refers to them having moderate alcohol levels and acidity. This makes them especially great with food.
Tell me a little bit about the varieties you offer.
We’re one of the only vineyards in New York growing chenin blanc, most famously grown in Vouvray in France. It’s a key part of our repertoire as a true “island wine.” It’s perfect in summer and evokes the island lifestyle and delicious seafood. The chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc both pair well with seafood and shellfish.
We also grow riesling, true to my mother’s German roots, and offer a few styles of chardonnay.
As far as reds, we offer classic Bordeaux and Loire-style wines like cabernet franc with a medium body, good structure and character.
What’s your favorite wine?
That’s like choosing a favorite child! But the chenin blanc is one of my personal favorites. We also offer the Assemblage, which we only put out during the best vintages, not every year.
What tips do you have for a newbie at pairing wine?
There’s a good rule of them that red wine should go with red meat, and white wine should go with white fish and meat. That said, rules are meant to be broken! Know what you like, and don’t let anyone tell you what to like.
What can someone expect from the wine pairing dinner?
Wine is meant to be had with food. Food helps bring out the character of wine, and vice versa. You’ll learn how one wine versus another work with food and see firsthand how pairing can enhance flavor. It’s like the old adage: “The whole is greater than the sum of parts.”
You’re not going to want to miss A Taste of the Old Country: Wine Pairing Dinner at Bistro 72. Chef Deb and her team are preparing a special German inspired farm-to-table menu that pairs perfectly with Paumanok’s limited, local wines. It’s all happening on April 5th from 6-9pm at Bistro 72. Reserve your seat for this special event by calling (631) 369-3325. Seatings are $65 per person.