As the owner of Amagansett Wines & Spirits, Michael Cinque knows a thing or two about great vino (he even makes wine from grapes he grows on his East End front lawn!). He also has a deep respect for our local Long Island winemaking; so much so, alongside beloved bottles of Barolo and Burgundy, he holds a treasure trove of vintages past from a multitude of East End producers.
Cinque also knows how to be a good guest and that bringing a great bottle or two of wine will ensure you get invited back. Add bonus points for sticking to the tenet of “what grows together goes together.” Grab this mixed case of Cinque’s baker’s dozen of recommendations, and you’ll be at the ready all summer to win the prize for best vino-toting visitor.
1. Macari Wines 2021 Katherine’s Field Sauvignon Blanc, $24 “I’ve always been a big fan of this sauvignon blanc. It’s your perfect evening oyster wine, clam wine, clambake wine, fish fry wine — you get the gist. Crisp and clean, it goes from cocktails to sunsets to al fresco meals.”
2. Paumanok 2021 Chenin Blanc, $29 “This wine is such a great all-around wine for those who want anything but chardonnay. It’s great for cocktails and it’s food-friendly. You can even pair it with asparagus. But really, anything that comes out of the ground or from the sea on the North or South Fork is great with this.”
3. Palmer Vineyards 2022 Albariño, $33 “It takes a Spaniard to plant albariño, and that’s how this grape wound up on Long Island, thanks to Palmer’s former winemaker, Miguel Martin. The grape hails from Galicia, where it’s grown by the seaside in a humid climate, similar to ours. You’ll want with anything out of the bays or the ocean.”
4. Kontokosta Winery 2021 Viognier, $28.99 “On the East End, sometimes we’re just sipping at sunset or taking something cold to the beach. This wine is pineapple-y with great acidity — it’s a great white for just such occasions.”
5. Macari 2022 Rosé, $22
“An exciting blend of malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Mouthwatering, crisp and delicate with ripe strawberry flavors.”
6. Palmer Vineyards 2022 Pinot Blanc, $28 “I’ve loved this grape from the early days of Bob Palmer and winemaker Dan Kleck. Flavors of pineapple, allspice and vanilla take your palate on a tropical journey.”
7. Channing Daughters 2021 Rosato Merlot Petillant Naturel, $25 “Sparkling pink! With just a touch of sweetness — it’s irresistibly delicious. It can pair with just about anything you’re cooking this summer.”
8. Bedell Cellars 2020 Cabernet Franc, $35 “I think this wine from winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich is the quintessential barbecue wine. It’s expressive of pure, fresh fruit aged in neutral barrels. It’s floral with just a touch of smoke that goes so great with grilled food.”
9. Jamesport 2019 Bloc E Merlot, $45 “My dad would always say, ‘Great wine is made in the field, not in the cellar.’ Owner Ron Goerler is passionate about the fields; that’s what I always look for. This is classic, beautiful Long Island merlot.”
10. Brooklyn Oenology 2020 Broken Land, $30 “This orange-style wine is predominantly made from aromatic gewürztraminer, and smells like apricots, roses and ginger, with just a little bit of grip from the skin contact the wine gets. Very food-friendly!”
11. Macari Wines 2020 Bergen Road, $75 “I have 10 vintages of this in my home cellar. The 2020 is just a baby, but if you want to give somebody a wine that they can lay down in their cellar, this is a great choice. The 2020 is full of ripe, dark fruit and cedar and baking spice notes.”
12. McCall 2015 Pinot Noir, $30 “It’s tough to grow good pinot noir on Long Island, but Russ McCall’s is terrific. He’s passionate about the dirt — he found just the right site for pinot.”
13. Leo Family Wines 2015 Red Blend, $39 “I love John Leo dearly — he’s a great guy and really talented winemaker. This is a traditional Bordeaux blend, and gives beautiful dark fruit and tannic structure.”