Tag Archives: vineyards

How I Went From Doctoring to Wine Making

Domaine des Bories. Photo: Ron Blumenthal.

by Ron Blumenfeld

Ron Blumenfeld is our new wine columnist. Ron is a doctor, but these days, you’re likely to find him tending the vines at Domaine des Boires, where he’s one of the vineyard’s owners. Look for Ron’s column on the first Friday of every month. He’ll write about some aspect of wine—making it, tasting it, savoring the wine life.

How does a guy from the southwest corner of the Bronx end up tending grape vines in the southwest corner of France?

I thought about this as I stood on a remote hillside vineyard in the Madiran wine region, miles from any paved road—let alone the Grand Concourse. It was also a pretty unusual career move to make after spending 35 years as a Connecticut doctor.

But the answer was simple: Vincent Chabert, the man across the field, tirelessly tending our vines.

I first met Vincent, a Frenchman, at a Quebec ski mountain in the late 1980’s. Vincent was a ski instructor, but he was also maître d’ at a local inn. Over a decade, we became good friends.

Part of Vincent’s job at the inn was managing a 15,000-bottle wine cellar. Soon, he got the winemaking bug and went back to France to work at Chateau Bouscassé, a famous Madiran vineyard. In 2006, Vincent called me to say he was going to buy Domaine des Bories, also in the Madiran region. He asked me if I wanted to be an investor.

I loved wine—but did I love it that much?

Though not well-known to US wine drinkers, the wines from Madiran, an area dotted with roughly 40 vineyards, date back to Roman times. Domaine des Bories offers two blends (cuvées): “Tradition,” with 50-60% tannat, and “Vieilles Vignes (old vines),” with 80% tannat. Both blends are rounded off with cabernet sauvignon and/or cabernet franc.

These days, I travel to Madiran to perform exhausting agricultural labor. There’s not much time to enjoy its quaint villages and beautiful countryside. At this point, I’ve had my bleeding and callused hands in every stage of wine production, from vine to bottle, to promotion.

Do I love wine that much? Enough to sink my blood, sweat and money into a vineyard?

I do in fact love it that much!

Here’s where you can buy Domaine des Bories. Many of these shops will ship.


West Side Wine 481 Columbus Ave. NY www.westsidewine.com

Rye Brook Wines 259 South Ridge Street Rye Brook www.ryebrookwines.com


Grapes of Norwalk 10 Cross Street Norwalk www.grapeswine.com

Stewart’s Wines and Spirits 227 Elm Street New Canaan www.stewartswines.com

Harry’s Wines 2094 Post Road Fairfield www.harryswine.com

The Wine Thief 181 Crown Street New Haven www.thewinethief.com

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LIRR Wine Train Offers N. Fork Wines But Car Odor Mars Experience

Photo: Courtesy MTA.

It sounds like a great idea: a selection of North Fork wines on a specially designated LIRR wine train from Ronkokoma to Greenport.

Only one problem.

How can you drink wine when your gagging from the unappetizing odor wafting through the car from a deoderized restroom?

The wines are from North Fork vineyards (Macari and Duck Walk among them). But the car I traveled on about a month ago—I haven’t been back since so not every car may have this problem— emitted an intense, foul smell. It was eau de toilet mixed with a chemical stench. Long Island Railrod spokesman Sam Zambuto says the odor was caused by disinfectants applied to the lavatory that can seep into the ventilation system.

“Yes, unfortunately it would take away from the experience,” conceded Zambuto, who said the matter had been referred to the LIRR maintenance department.

“When a car is freshly serviced, it has a deodorizer in the rest room.” That scent can be picked up by a car’s ventilation system, he explained. “We’re looking into how this can be eliminated,” Zamputo wrote in an e-mail.

Launched this summer, the Wine Train runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. Every week, six different wines are featured and an individual vineyard is showcased.

Assuming this, uh, unappetizing odor is corrected, you have to cheer on the railroad for its efforts on behalf of Long Island wineries. Once the offending stench is banished, it will be nice to sip some North Fork wines while traveling to the bucolic North Fork.

The North Fork Wine Train.

  • Fridays-only, Memorial Day weekend through the Labor Day weekend.
  • The North Fork wine train is the 5:21 PM train from Ronkonkoma to Greenport (arriving 6:45 PM) on summer Fridays. Customers coming from NYC can take the 3:55 PM train from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma (arriving at 5:16 PM) and transfer at Ronkonkoma to the Wine Train.

The Wines and Vineyards

Six wineries/vineyards and 13 different wines that are featured each Friday. A different vineyard is featured weekly along with two types of wine from that vineyard.

Here’s a complete list of vineyards and wines:

Laurel Lake Vineyards

Red: 2007 Merlot

Intense flavors and full bodied.

White: 2009 Chardonnay

Unwooded chardonnay.

Peconic Bay Vineyards

Red: Nautique Esprit de Rouge

Three different grapes are blended across two different vintages.

White: Nautique Esprit de Blanc

Possesses aromatic qualities that are the result of blending.

Macari Vineyards

Red: Sette

A blend of 50% Merlot & 50% Cabernet Franc.

White: 2010 Early Wine (Chardonnay)

New Release made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.

Pindar Vineyards

Red: Pythagoras

This  red was first crafted to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

White: Peacock Chardonnay

Chardonnay with hints of pear and apple and vanilla.

Duck Walk Vineyards

Red: Cabernet Sauvignon

A red with notes of blackberry, currant, and cassis, with a hint of vanilla.

White: Southampton White

Our signature white wine.

Jason Vineyard

Rose: A  bouquet of strawberry, cherries and raspberries.

White – Golden Fleece: A  blend of Cayuga, Sylvia & Rewriter.




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North Fork, LI: Magic Fountain’s Divine Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Rum on the North Fork where wine is king? Well, not exactly.

But if you need an ice cream break while trawling the vineyards, stop by the Magic Fountain in Mattituck, Long Island and get yourself a scoop of the shop’s delicious rum raisin ice cream.

Photo:  Magic Fountain

Photo: Magic Fountainscoop of the family-run shop's utterly delicious rum raisin ice cream.

The Magic Fountain has perched on Route 25 (locally known as the Main Road) since 1966 when it originally opened as a Dairy Queen. Today, you can get a cone of soft serve or tuck into about 50 flavors of hard pack ice cream. If rum raisin isn’t your thing, try other old timey flavors like Maple Walnut or Cherry Vanilla.

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