Winebar, Greenport's newest wine tasting location for three smaller local vineyards, held its at Thursday night, which was well attended by local wine industry types.
With a large air-conditioned tent, a firepit, terraces, lawns, and for-loan picnic blankets, the atmosphere is casual and outdoorsy. It's run by Mark Anderson and Andrew Mestler, both veterans of . Lisa Donneson of said, "They love wine, they love talking about wine with their guests, they're engaging, they're charming." Anderson, a musician who has frequently performed at local vineyards, sang along with guitarist Mike Hogan and keyboardist Paul Heffner.
Winebar features wine tasting flights from three local vineyards - , and . Two of the three vineyards were part of in Peconic, which closed in February 2011 (). Winebar is the exclusive North Fork tasting location for and ; Comtesse Thérèse is available at . The Peconic Lane location is now home to another multi-vineyard tasting room - , which features the wines of , , and Grapes of Roth.
For an additional charge, wine tastings can be accompanied by a food tasting menu. Foods paired with white wines include a roasted pear and goat cheese plate, pan seared scallops, oysters and salmon, while foods paired with red wines include smoked duck breast, beef tenderloin, ahi tuna, and aged NY sirloin, prepared by chef Mark Sorrentino in the Portly Grape's restaurant kitchen.
Beer from , angus burgers, fried calamari, mussels, duck wontons, and other selections can be ordered from The Portly Grape's regular grill menu.
In addition to the three featured wineries for tastings, winebar offers wines by the glass and by the bottle from the three featured wineries plus a variety of other North Fork vineyards - currently , , , , and . "We'll be adding more as well," said Anderson. The team also plan to offer local beer flights, paired with food.
The hit of the opening night party was 2008 . A beautiful blush pink, made in the methode champenoise style, it is softer and has less of the acidic bite one often encounters in a sparkling wine.
Some of the other interesting wines offered by-the-glass are Raphael's chardeux (a chardonnay-sauvignon blend), Macari's Sette (a 50-50 merlot-cab franc blend), and Scarola's Mistura (a mixture of cab franc, merlot and petit verdot).
The Portly Grape, a Victorian manse whose former identity was The Shady Lady, is a hotel with 11 guest rooms, restaurant, bar, grill and lounge. Said Portly Grape owner Denise Burke, "We're thrilled with the all-local wine and beer concept."
Winebar will be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Full Disclosure: Tree Dilworth, who used to run The Tasting Room, is affiliated with this venture.