Monday, August 24, 2009

Do Bigfoot and Long Island wines both exist???? Yes, Virginia there really are Long Island wines!

While perusing Creative Loafing looking for something to do this past weekend, what to my wondering eyes should appear but Free (one of my favorite words) combined with Wine Tasting (two more of my favorite words!). Not only a free wine tasting but they are profiling the elusive and legendary Long Island wines! I couldn’t believe my eyes, I’ve heard about these wines but the old timers always said many never make it out of Long Island and those that do only make it as far as the restaurants in Manhattan. The Wine Chicks, Wine Hen and Rooster were in Upstate NY just a few weeks ago and even they were unable to find Long Island wines.

We arrived at Wine Warehouse in St Petersburg and make our way to the tasting bar. That’s where we meet Larry Tirrell who is from the TAG Wine Group, LLC. TAG Wine Group is the only wholesale distributor brining Long Island wines to Florida. According to TAG’s website their mission is: “To increase the awareness, variety, and availability of Long Island wine in the State of Florida. Our expanding portfolio will feature wines of distinction, quality and value”. I also learn the wine movement on Long Island 3 years prior to the big wine hoopla in California.

We tasted wines from Pindar Vineyards, the largest and most prestige vineyard founded in 1979. The first to taste is the Pindar Winter White (retails for $9.99), a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Cayuga. It’s a semi-sweet but is refreshing. I’m not much of a white wine drinker but this could be nice sitting outside in the hot summer months. Next was the Pindar Sweet Scarlett (retails for $9.99), a red wine with a touch of sweetness. I normally enjoy full bodied non-sweet wines but there is something about this wine that makes you want to enjoy it during the holidays. Mom, guess what we’re having with the Thanksgiving Turkey this year! The TAG website says this wine goes well with Spicy foods and I can truly see how this would work. The last wine we tasted was the Pindar Pythagoras (retails for $14.99) which seemed to be the best selling wine of the tasting. The red wine was first crafted to celebrate Pindar’s 20th anniversary. It’s a non vintage-rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This blend was named “Best US Red Blend” by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago and “Best Red Vinifera” in Vineyard & Winery Management's "Best of the East" competition. It’s a Merlot/Cabernet blend and takes on both tasting traits. The wine is smooth and extremely well balanced with a subtle fruity bouquet.

So while the search for Bigfoot continues, this Long Island Wine Hunter can put down her wine glass as her search has come to an end.

Wine Warehouse is located at 5571 4st N, St Petersburg and offers free wine tastings every Saturday 4-7.
TAG Wine Group, LLC can be contacted through their website:

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