The Winemaker Studio: Nap(p)a on the NoFo

Anthony Nappa makes wine. Lucky for us it isn’t out in California in the famous Valley with the one ‘p’ in its name. The home of this vintner’s wine is in Peconic at The Winemaker Studio, formerly known as The Tasting Room. Anthony and Sarah Nappa, newlyweds this January, have been wowing customers of their quaint storefront on Peconic Lane with their wines such as ‘Nemesis,’ an “earthy, full-bodied” Pinot Noir, ‘Bordo,’ (in Italian, bordo means “the edge,” or overboard—how fitting for this wine, I just loved it) “a rustic Italian Cab Franc, with notes of raspberry, licorice and graphite,” There’s ‘Luminous,’ a Riesling, that I swear has aphrodisiacal properties, besides being delicious, and ‘Spezia,’ a “crisp dry white,” that went down as smooth as silk and had us craving more.

And the piece de resistance was a white Pinot Noir, called ‘Anomaly.’ Yes, folks and wine merchants, a white Pinot Noir! It exists (without the skins, an absence of red color, like champagne) and the Nappas have done a fabulous job with their grapes in creating such a pleasant drinkable wine. ‘Anomaly’ can speak for itself, but in the meantime, let me whet your appetite by saying you haven’t tasted this wine before. ‘Anomaly’ was so popular since its birth that stores that were wise enough to carry it, ran out, as did the Studio, and a new batch had to be made. May I say I am delighted to have tasted it and bought several bottles. I can’t wait to open the next one! “Pinot Noir lends itself easily to be made into white,” says Anthony, “a softer wine, not big and clumsy, but elegant.” I must agree.

Anthony began his winemaking at Shinn Estate Vineyards on the North Fork. He now makes his wine at Premium Wine Group in Mattituck, gathering all his grapes from New York vineyards. “Winemakers and vineyards have a good relationship,” Anthony says. Not all vineyards make wine. Anthony is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s School of Agriculture and Lincoln University, New Zealand’s Winemaking Program, where he met his wife. Sarah, a culinary student at the time, is now a sous chef at North Fork Table and Inn in Southold and also works as a private chef.

Anthony went on to work in Italy, New England and California, and he finally settled on the North Fork, which “had the most potential for winemaking.” Add to this a local movement for sustainable and local agriculture, and you get local winemakers like Anthony. The Winemaker Studio is a “collaborative tasting room, featuring not only the Nappas’ wines, but other local vintners’ goods. Small winemakers supporting each other’s projects.”

According to Anthony, “Getting your foot in the door with local wine used to be impossible,” but now the Nappas are in the building. “Things are always evolving as far as getting wine out there, and to us it is about the quality; we don’t bottle anything that is not excellent. And nothing pretentious.” The bottles all have simplicity in packaging, a plain white label (except for the red, ‘Bordo,’ which has a black label and red lettering) with a one-word name on it. No embellishments. That could be the tagline of Anthony Nappa’s wines. No fuss. Yet interesting, memorable names.

The Nappas’ success has been in “not being boxed in to one grape and one wine.” Though with Anomaly, Spezia, and Bordo, I might have to disagree. I want more! Luckily I ordered an assortment, and it arrived promptly. While Sarah runs the tasting room at the Winemaker Studio, as well as doing the wholesale end with merchants in New York and hopefully soon the South Fork (hint, hint), Anthony is making the wine. The couple makes their own deliveries. An entrepreneurial operation born out of a love for wine and each other. Couple that with Sarah’s talent in the kitchen and you can’t go wrong. Fed heart and soul.

Whether it is magic or science or an innate desire to recreate what our Neolithic ancestors discovered, wine is here to stay. Or to be poetic, “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Galileo Galilei.

The Winemaker Studio tasting room is now open Saturday and Sunday  noon-7 p.m., with a 5-7 p.m.  happy hour and discounted glasses of wine. Late Spring: Friday-Monday. Summer: Seven days a week. Some local restaurants are serving Anthony Nappa wines. Ask for them! Sarah can be reached for catering at the website and phone number below.

Wine is made once a year in the fall, when the grapes are picked. Right now the wines are being bottled for shipping. Feel free to contact Anthony: www.winemaker-studio.com, 774-641-7488 Or go have yourself a beautiful day on the North Fork and stop by the Winemaker Studio: 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic. (Next door to Taste of the North Fork.)

BACK TO Grapevine