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With Susan Simm

Perfect Pairs: When A Winemaker Plays Matchmaker
Charles Massoud, owner and winemaker at Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue, has been making some of the East End’s finest wines for many years. Although Charles does particular justice to Rieslings, perhaps inspired by his lovely wife Ursula, his Chenin Blanc, any of the Grand Vintage 2000s you can find, and the 2000 Assemblage are simply outstanding.

While writing an article for Dan’s Dining Section a few weeks ago about pairing unusual foods and wines, I thought of Charles and what he might suggest teaming with his current offerings. Being the well-traveled, worldly man that he is, I suspected Charles would have some interesting suggestions. He did, of course. His suggestions appear in quotes below following the names of Paumanok wines.

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2001 – characteristic of Meursault. Charles suggests “moist, medium rare salmon sprinkled with lemon juice, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.”

Chenin Blanc 2003 – dry with lively acidity, grapefruit and pineapple flavors. “Should be at every raw bar to cleanse the palate with crab, oysters, clams, scallop ceviche or urchins with lemon juice. Drink it as cold as possible.” Perfect summer wine.

Dry Riesling 2003 – bone dry yet floral. “A perfect wine for white meat such as pork, veal or fowl. If you serve pork cutlets with your sauerkraut, make sure you have a bottle.”

Semi Dry Riesling 2003 – slightly sweet, fruity. “A conversation wine, it also goes quite well with white meats cooked well done. The sweetness acts like a moisturizer. With turkey you can have it instead of the cranberry jelly or with a loin of pork instead of the apple sauce.”

Vin Rose – a white wine made from the juice of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, flavors of currants and strawberries. Charles likes this “with Indian curry and Thai food.”

Grand Vintage Cabernet Franc 2001 – “If you like rabbit! Also with a rare tuna steak.”

Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 – “Pair with cheese such as Emmenthal with Aldo’s (of Greenport) whole wheat bread. It also goes very well with canard a l’orange.”

Grand Vintage Merlot 2000 – Charles’ choice for “a rare Chateaubriand or a lean filet mignon.”

ASSEMBLAGE 2000 – is the “perfect wine for a rich, juicy and fat steak. If you like quails or grilled squab, then this is the wine of choice.”

Grand Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 – was “born to go with a well seasoned rare rack of lamb sprinkled with thyme. A nice ripe, running goat cheese would of course be the ultimate match, if your cholesterol is not acting up.”

Late Harvest Riesling 2002 – A “great way to wash down Aldo’s hazelnut biscotti. I thought I had eaten well tonight. But here I am hungry again!” Me, too, Charles. Me too. Cheers.

Susan Whitney Simm is Dan’s North Fork editor and wine writer. Email

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