8 Buyers, 1 Store, 8000 Wines

Saturday, November 16, 2013

 Located some 100 miles east of Manhattan, Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton, Long Island is one of our closest wineries. They distinguish themselves by using sustainable methods to make wine from a wide range of grape varietals in styles often more closely linked to Friuli than the South Fork.

In the past year I have found Channing Daughters popping up on wine lists throughout the city. Reds and Whites, of course, but also plenty of Rosatos (which they produce in at least six varietals, totaling a third of their production), the occasional rich Meditazione, Ramato (copper wine), and revolutionary keg wines—like the excellent Ribolla Gialla on tap at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. While each glass I encountered tickled me, they represented so much more than just a good glass of wine. High quality, exotic, accessible, and sustainable—each Channing Daughters wine is a bright spark in our local food culture. This winery clearly has its finger on the pulse of what many diners, chefs, and sommeliers in New York are looking for, and I could not wait to go to the source and see for myself how they make it happen.

On a clear fall day, and after an early morning Jitney ride to Bridgehampton and a 2-mile walk to Channing Daughters on Scuttlehole Road, I finally met my local wine hero, winemaker Christopher Tracy.
I had a lot of questions about how he makes the wines and Christopher did not hold back. He showed me open-top fermenters where red and white grapes were in various stages of macerating—in some vats spontaneous carbonic maceration was occurring—and he allowed me to taste. I could not get over the hardiness of the juice as I punched down grapes with my hands, and also how much work goes into overseeing all of these wines, how much care is taken balancing approachable fruit and texture with funkier flavors.

After spending the morning picking Blaufränkisch (a grape found mainly in Austria and Germany) it was rewarding to watch the grapes get destemmed before being pressed for Rosato. In the afternoon we picked Refosco, a red varietal from Friuli, Italy, which had a very different character: smaller, tighter bunches with higher tannin. After completing the last row of Refosco I climbed up to the Channing Daughters tasting room and enjoyed a great tasting.

My day at Channing Daughters was unforgettable and I cannot thank Christopher enough for being so forthcoming. I am very proud that we stock these wines at 67 Wine and we even occasionally pour them during tastings of New York wine.

Sadie Flateman


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