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(Photo credit: Amy Zavatto)

When something is dependably delicious, you stick with it. That’s why the good folks at the Bell & Anchor in Sag Harbor have kept Paumanok’s Festival Chardonnay on tap for years. Yes, on tap! In case you’ve missed this wonderful innovation, wine in keg has slowly but surely been gaining in popularity over the last decade or so. In part for practical reasons (less waste from open bottles gone bad; super fresh wine at will), but also for excellent environmental boon (lower carbon footprint across the board).

The Massoud family has long been on the forefront of smart, eco-forward packaging, so its no surprise they tapped this smart format early on. “We have been doing the Festival Red and Festival Chardonnay since the mid-90s… both have been available in kegs since we started offering any of our wine in kegs, since 2010,” says Kareem Massoud, winemaker for the family-run producer.

And for the Festival Chardonnay, it makes so much sense. If you think of chardonnay as an oaky, vanilla bomb, this will gleefully change your perspective. It’s bright and refreshing, coming straight at you with aromatics of fresh lemon, juicy green apple, and honeydew melon. It snaps to a dry, zesty finish that easily cuts a path through the creamiest of dishes. And at only 12% abv, it’s low-fi enough to go for an extra pour.

But what about that name, Festival? “We used to have a harvest festival every year, so it originated from that,” says Massoud. “But also the name ‘Festival’ and the label artwork, which is also playful, are meant to be evocative of the wine style we are going for in this wine: fun, zippy, fresh, easygoing, vivacious, every day Chardonnay.”

Our recipe of the week came from Bell & Anchor’s chef Sam McCleland—a luxurious lobster garganelli that goes oh-so nicely with this 100 percent chardonnay. If you can’t make it into Bell & Anchor for the pasta or the wine, try your hand at making it and pick up a bottle of the 2021 Paumanok Festival Chardonnay at Bottle Hampton in Southampton.

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