In spite of a forecast for inclement weather, holiday revelers, Christmas shoppers and wine and food aficionados flocked to Long Island Wine Country for the 2nd Annual Cutchogue Holiday House Tour. The tour consisted of eight stops and was self-guided, so you can spend as much time or as little time at each of the stops as you wanted. Being a foodie rather than a shopper, most of my time was spent at the four houses that featured local wine and food.
The Holiday House tour was organized by Lisa Sannino of Sannino Bella Vita Bed and Breakfast, Joyce Barry of The Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast and the Cutchogue New Suffolk Historical Society. The idea was to create an event that showcased various Cutchogue businesses and to do some fundraising for local charities. Proceeds went to the Historical Society, Wounded Warriors and north fork family counseling services. There was also a toy drive for “Toys for Tots” for North Fork children.
After a quick stop at the Christmas Show House and Best of North Fork Emporium, where many local vendors had their wares for sale, we headed to the private home of Conni Cross of Conni Cross Garden Designs. After a tour of the beautifully decorated house and spectacular garden we sampled appetizers prepared by Touch of Venice restaurant which were accompanied by wines from Castello di Borghese Vineyard. Since I was designated driver of our group, I stuck with just one wine and went for the 2008 Estate Merlot, an earthy well-balanced wine.
We next went to the Shades of Gray Cottage on Pequash Avenue, a 2-bedroom rental house that is decorated entirely, as the name applies, in shades of Gray. In the cottage behind the house, we enjoyed an Italian feast prepared by Michelangelo’s of Cutchogue and Rolling In Dough, which paired perfectly with the 2012 Merlot from Macari Vineyards. By this time the rain had grown from a drizzle to a steady downpour, so we decided to stay a spell. Rules are meant to be broken, so I decided to have a 2nd glass of wine, the 2012 Reserve Chardonnay from Macari, a medium-bodied oaked wine with a pear and tropical notes.
Fortified by our feast at the Shades of Grey Cottage, we ventured out and headed to The Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast, which is an 1860’s farmhouse that has been completed renovated by Robert and Joyce Barry and is now a 3-bedroom B&B. After a tour of the house, we headed to the kitchen where we tasted the wines of Lieb Cellars. Since the food was supplied by Braun Seafood, I opted for the Pinot Blanc, which I enjoyed with their New England clam chowder, the smoked Salmon and the white fish salad.
The final stop on the tour was the Sannino Bella Vita B&B where Anthony and Lisa Sannino were pouring, of course, wines from their winery Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards. The food was prepared by Samy Sabil and Ryan Flatley of Creative Courses Catering, who are planning a new restaurant venture in Southold called the North Fork Shack. The only disappointment was that the popular Sannino spiced wine was sold out, which would have been perfect on a chilly, rainy December day. But no problem, there was plenty of great food, including taffy from North Fork Taffy, and delicious wine to make us momentarily forget the miserable weather.
There were also stops at the 8 Hands Farm (where you could see sheep and learn about wool), Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm and the Cutchogue New Suffolk Historical Council for the tree lighting and Christmas Caroling. But the steady rain was wearing us down so we decided to head back west. Filled with holiday spirit, and some great local food and wine, we vowed to make this an annual tradition.