What to do on a winter afternoon on Long Island? How about a trip to Southern Italy to have a home-cooked meal at Grandma’s House? An afternoon filled with vino, pasta and singing. Sounds great, but a bit extravagant, you say. Well, instead of jetting off to Naples, how about if you could attend a Sunday dinner with Nonna in Jamesport, Long Island? Well, that’s what Sal Diliberto has done. Sal, the owner, vineyard manager and winemaker of Diliberto Winery, has what he calls “Sundays with Grandma” on Sunday afternoons during the winter.
The afternoon started on a high note with Sal, who is the current president of the Long Island Wine Council, giving Dean Martin a run for his money with his rendition of “That’s Amore”, while we enjoyed a welcome glass of wine and some antipasto. Next, there was a pasta-making demonstration, accompanied by Donna Butler, a classically trained singer, belting out “O Sole Mio”. Sal explained, you can’t make pasta in silence, you need some music, otherwise you’ll be missing a key ingredient. Then we had homemade Mozzarella paired with their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. By this time the snow was starting to come down in earnest as yet another winter storm was blanketing the northeast. But nobody cared. After all, what’s the worst case scenario? We get stranded in a winery over the weekend? As long as the food and wine doesn’t run out, how bad could it be?
After a few more Italian folk songs, it was time for the pasta course, tagliatelle with Marinara da Maryann (a recipe of his wife.) This was served with a glass of Cantina, their Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend. In the background we listened to delightful dinner music by the aptly named piano player Danny Keys. As you can see, a pattern was developing: An endless loop of Wine, food and music.
After Pietro Mascagni’s Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana we enjoyed a Pizza Dolce, cannoli and some mulled wine. And then a singalong of popular Italian classics. Like many Long Island wineries, Diliberto is about the experience, not simply tasting wine. At Croteaux Vineyards, it’s a summer afternoon in Provence. At Sparkling Pointe, it’s Carnaval in Rio. And at Diliberto it’s a festa in Campania. A fellow participant summed it up perfectly when he stated on the way out: “I don’t remember my Sundays at grandma’s house being anything like this!” Bravo Sal. Brava Maryann!