Sunday Wine Dinners at the Riverhead Project

This past May, when the 2012 vintage was just forming on the vine, we attended an unforgettable wine-pairing dinner in the refurbished bank vault below the Riverhead Project restaurant. The meal featured 8 different roses from Channing Daughters, each paired with a course from Chef Gregory Ling–hamachi “meatballs” with merlot rose, baby beets with refosco rose. And now, for the fall and winter, the restaurant is reviving this concept with Sunday winemaker pairing meals dubbed the Wine Project.

The Wine Project has been part of the restaurateur Dennis McDermott‘s vision since he opened on Riverhead’s East Main Street: he placed a long communal table in the dining room where he intended winemakers to pour and regale eaters, family style. The concept evolved as several wine distributors often showed up, after a day of sales calls, with a suitcase-worth of interesting, half-drank bottles. So, McDermott invited them to pour and invited Chef Ling to work his spontaneous, fresh-fusion magic that yields Polish-town homage like lobster pierogi.

For the cooler months, the series is moving downstairs, where guests enjoy leather sofas and cocktails handed across a teller’s window, before moving into the vault to sup at an extra long table. The Fall Series of The Wine Project kicked off with a representative from Vidalco Wines on October 28. Vidalco imports wine from around the world, including unusual countries like Romania, Uruguay, San Marino and Luxembourg. The series continues on November 4 with wines from importer distributor Martin Scott. Tickets are $85 per person and the space is limited. Cocktails are at 5 p.m. and dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are required.

The winter wineSERIES starts December 31, New Year’s Eve, featuring wines from Sparkling Pointe. Check here or call the restaurant for updates, 631- 284-3900.