I, Locavore: Comtesse Terese Merlot


Zaytoon’s, on Smith Street, is BYOB, and a good, local wine to tote along is Comtesse Terese’s First Harvest Merlot, a simple, light-bodied, tannic Merlot that tastes of red berries. It might be too astringent on its own, but it’s excellent with food, especially lamb, and the homemade za’atar bread. (The restaurant makes its own pita breads, so that they arrive hot, pliant and puffy, right out of the oven.) This is Comtesse Terese’s first Merlot grown entirely on the estate vineyard, Le Clos Therese, in Aquebogue.

Comtesse Terese is Theresa Dilworth — owner, winemaker, fourth-generation Long Islander, and also an international tax attorney for MasterCard. (And that, friends, is how one ends up being able to buy a vineyard.) Dilworth has also hired a consultant winemaker from the south of France. She’s known for aging her wines in oak from unusual places, like Russia and Hungary.

You can buy Comtesse Terese’s wines on her website, or from The Tasting Room.