Drinking, in the Present and Future, on the North Fork
It was awesome enough to be on Long Island’s North Fork this past weekend, with that glorious, still-summer weather. But to make a good time even better, I got to have breakfast at the amazing Shinn Estate Farmhouse at Shinn Estate Vineyards with owners Barbara Shinn and David Page. They were pretty calm, considering their winery was the first stop of the North Fork Foodie Tour, which had grown from 75 expected participants to 400—all of whom were given potato sacks to carry around the local artisanal products they were going to pick up en route. (Other cool stops on the tour included Sang Lee Farms, which sells the best corn I’ve ever tasted, and Pipes Cove Oysters, who were giving shucking lessons.) David's breakfast was unbelievable: thick slices of sweet, smoky bacon cured on the back porch, and what David calls “rice softies” (as opposed to the more famous Krispies), a corn-studded risotto that was a brilliant dish to eat first thing in the morning, especially if you drank too much North Fork wine the night before. And they told me about their upcoming programs for this winter: Besides Wine Asylum weekends, in which guests get to blend their own wines and then drink them for dinner (my colleague Nick Fauchald wrote about them in July 2007), they’ll host Wine Futures, or Shinn dig, parties in February, in which 100-plus guests can barrel-taste Shinn wines and then preorder them as they eat dinner. David is already thinking that he might prepare something like a venison stew and serve it with their peppery red, playfully named Wild Boar Doe.