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Finding the best North Fork wines for holiday festivities


Wine consultant Dorothy-Dean Thomas will be dispensing advice on how to find the best wines for your holiday celebration at the next installment of Friday Night Dialogues at the Shelter Island Public Library on December 16 at 7 p.m.

Prepare for the upcoming “festive” season and taste some new-to-you wines that will pair perfectly with the Christmas turkey or prime rib, your holiday goose or duck or the traditional New Year’s ham. You also might discover the perfect wine for those casual get-togethers with friends and family that everyone finds so enjoyable at this time of year.

A member of the Latham family of Orient, Ms. Thomas’s father was in the Marine Corps, and, as a result, she traveled widely as a child. She now resides on the North Fork and is at the center of Long Island’s up and coming wine industry. Ms. Thomas consults with Lenz, one of Long Island’s oldest and most respected vineyards. Her previous clients included the Corey Creek and Bedell vineyards.

As most wine lovers know, local wines are receiving increasingly positive attention from the national and international wine press; the wine world has come to the realization that quality vintages are produced in places beyond California and the “Old World.”

The wines of Long Island are known for having a style all their own that is very distinct from other wine-producing areas. The North Fork doesn’t produce the big “oaky” Chardonnays that some California wineries create, but offers leaner, well balanced models that are more reminiscent of the white Burgundy’s from France.

Ms. Thomas is of the opinion that anyone can improve their wine tasting skills by visiting Long Island’s many wineries. By simply tasting the wines on offer and listening to the comments of the servers, who are usually quite knowledgeable about their products, they can learn quite a bit.

“The more you taste and listen, the more expert you’ll become and the more you’ll enjoy wine,” she said.

She also firmly believes that the changeover from growing potatoes to grapes has “saved” the North Fork by keeping it in sustainable agriculture and preventing it from becoming commercialized, thus preserving its history, culture and sense of place.

So come and join us at the Library on December 16, taste some wine, and get an early start on the holidays. Friday Night Dialogues are open and free to all, though donations are always appreciated. For more information, please call the library at (631) 749-0042.