June Tasting Out East

 

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At the end of June I took another drive out East to the wineries on the North Fork. Seems like this is the only game in town for social drinking. Sampled a diverse range of varietals this time around. Still not a bad way to spend a sunny afternoon.

 

 

Lieb Cellars 13050 Oregon Rd, Cutchogue

Off the main road, Lieb Cellars is run “by a close knit group of young passionate individuals”.

2018 Sauvignon Blanc: Light yellow with a greenish tint, closed nose of green apples, clean and crisp with green apple notes.

 

Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

The Bedell’s planted their first grapevines here in 1980

2019 Pinot Gris: This is the first vintage of this varietal produced at the winery. Clear light yellow with greenish tints, kiwi, tangerine on the nose, juice lemon/line notes on the fruit with crisp acidity.

 

Croteaux Vineyards 1450 S Harbor Road, Southold

This winery off the main road produces exclusively estate grown Rosé against the backdrop of two historic farms. 

2019 Rosé Merlot “181”: Stainless steel fermented, light copper in color, cantaloupe on the nose, minerally fruit with nice acidity. 

 

Pulgliese Vineyards 34515 Main Rd, Cutchogue

Established in 1980 and is family owned and operated, they make down to earth wines. The only winery that I know of on the North Fork that bottles a Sangiovese.

2015 Sangiovese: Clear light red in color, red cherry and green herbs on the nose, red cherry with a touch of leather on the fruit with good acidity. 

 

 

Open At Last

 

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Finally, in mid June the government eased up on the restrictions placed on business and permitted the North Fork wineries to serve wines to the public in an outdoor setting. It’s a start. I took a drive out East to sit down among the vineyards to drink the first glass of wine I’ve had in public in several weeks.

 

Lenz Winery 38355 Rte 25, Peconic

One of the founding wineries on the North Fork, they pour a dependable glass of wine. 

2014 Sauvignon Blanc: They tell me this is the first vintage of this varietal for this long time winery.

Straw yellow in color, white flowers on the nose, crisp with subtle grassy and honeydew notes on the fruit. Nicely balanced, great first time effort. 

 

McCall Wines  22600 Main Road, Cutchogue

A working cattle ranch as well as a winery, there’s always a family member in the tasting room. 

2019 “Nicola” Sauvignon Blanc: Nicola is the name of the daughter of the owners who served me the wine this day. 

Light yellow in color, kiwi and honeydew melon on the nose, full fruit with lime notes on the fruit with moderate to low acids. 

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” One of three Pinot Noir they were pouring on this day. Opaque dark brick in color, tarry, red cherry and smoky pepper on the nose with red licorice, new leather and earth on the fruit with good acid on the finish. Nice balance. 

 

 

Cava Tasting

 

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I was able to squeeze in this tasting the night before the lockdown on March 15th and it was held at Corkbuzz wine bar and restaurant at 13 East 13th Street, just south of Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Cava is a sparking wine produced in Spain. It comes from the Penedès wine region in Catalonia and is not far from the city of Barcelona.

To be called Cava, the wine  must be made using the methode champenoise. The traditional grape varietals used in making Cava are the indigenous Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada varietals with the non native varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir now used as well.

It might be heresy for me to say, but if I’m looking for a budget sparkler I much rather have a glass of Cava than a glass of Prosecco.

 

NV Barcino Brut “Belle Epoque”

(50% Macabeo, 30% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada)

 

NV Casas del Mar Brut Blanc de Blanc

(40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, 30% Parellada)

 

2016 Juvé & Camps Brut “Essential Reserva”

(100% Xarel-lo)

 

2018 Naveran Brut “Dama”

(85% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada)

 

2017 Alta Alella Mirgin Reserva Brut Nature

(40% Pansa Bianca, 30% Parellada, 30% Macabeu)

 

2013 Agusti Torelló Mata Gran Reserva Brut Nature

(38% Macabeo, 34% Parellada, 28% Xarel-lo)

 

NV Eudald Massana Noya Reserva Brut Nature

(Macabeu, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Chardonnay)

 

NV Josep Foraster Rosat Reserva

(100% Trepat)

 

NV Conquilla Brut Rosé

(100% Pinot Noir)

 

NV Pere Mata Rosé Brut Nature “Cupada”

(70% Garnatxa, 30% Parellada)

 

NV Dibon Brut Rosé

(100% Garnacha)

 

 

2019 Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses, Languedoc

 

 

Summer is here, more rosé.

Gerard Bertrand is a French wine grower with a vast portfolio of wines from the South of France.

They make several different rosé. This one is from the Languedoc region and is packaged in a pretty bottle with an etched rose on the bottom.

The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. 

 

2019 Cotes des Roses: Light pink in color, ripe cantaloupe on the nose, nice mouthfeel of light cherry and raspberry, nice balance. 

 

 

Last Tasting On Long Island Before The Lockdown

 

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We’re three months into the lockdown which meant no wine tasting, food or cocktail events to attend.


In the third week in March I was able to attend a couple of events before the shutdown and one afternoon I drove out to the North Fork to visit the wineries. At that time about half of them had shut down their tasting rooms in anticipation of the lockdown. The ones that remained open did a roaring business as people came out in droves for a last glass of wine. I had no agenda and just drank random wines.

 

 

Lenz Vineyards 38355 Route 25, Peconic

Lenz Vineyard was established in 1978 making it one of the original wineries to open on the North Fork of Long Island.

They produce a wide range of wines from whites, reds, sparkling and dessert wines. They are best known for their Merlot.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: Thick black in color with a purple rim, crushed black fruit, roasted nuts and some stinkiness on the nose, dusty fruit with shaved metal and black licorice notes on the fruit with firm, sour cherry tannins on the finish. 

 

Coffee Pot Cellars 31855 Main Road, Cutchogue

They are a small production winery that pours their products at this tasting room on the side of the main road. They are also beekeepers and sell local fruit jams and honey. They are famous for their house dog, Beasley the Wonder Pug. He’s getting on in years and wasn’t his usual spry self when I stopped in. 

2014 Meritage Red: A blend of about half Merlot with Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon added in.  Thick dark red in color with a purple rim, blue metal  and scorched black fruit notes on the nose, dusty, chewy black fruit with some oak flavors, chewy tannins.

 

Jamesport Vineyards 1216 Main Road, Jamesport

Established in 1986 making it one of the oldest wineries on the North Fork, their tasting room is in a 165 year old barn. They serve food as well. On this day the tasting room was mobbed since half the tasting rooms on the wine trail were closed this day. 

2016 Syrah “East End“: This is a single vineyard wine with 40% whole cluster fermentation. Thick black in color with a purple rim, smoked, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with sour black cherry notes on the firm and juicy finish, good grip. 

 

 

2016 Muga Reserva Rioja

 

This is my first Spanish red wine of the “lockdown” season and after a string of mediocre red wines, it was nice to finally drink something interesting.

The wine is from Rioja and is a reserva. The aging requirements for a Reserva from this vintage (which have since been modified) dictate three years of aging, two years in bottle and one year in oak before release.  This wine was aged for two years in oak casks before release.

70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo

 

2016 Muga Reserva Rioja:  Opaque dark red in color, pretty perfume of roast meat, roasted nuts, and raspberry filled dark chocolate, chewy, dusty fruit with silky, crunchy tannins on the finish. Some heat on the back end. 

 

 

2018 Josh Cellars Rosé California

 

 

Now that the warmer weather is upon us, it’s rosé time. I like a glass of rosé on a warm day. To me they are the casual wear of the wine world, nothing serious to make a fuss about and as long as it’s not sweet, I’ll drink it.

Josh Cellars was founded in 2007 by Joseph Carr and named as a tribute to his Dad, Josh. They produce wines sourced from across the California winegrowing regions.

 

2018 Josh Cellars Rosé California:  Clear copper in color, nose of watermelon and sweet strawberry, dry with light cherry notes and some earthiness on the finish, easy drinking. 

 

 

 

Coney Island, Brooklyn

 

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Coney Island is the world famous beach resort and old school amusement park. It’s located on a peninsula in southwest Brooklyn.

It’s home of the original Nathans hot dog stand and of the Cyclones, a minor league baseball team.

During World War II it was the largest amusement area in the United States.

 

 

2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley

 

Markham Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, founded in 1874 by French immigrant, Jean Laurent.

The 2015 vintage in Napa was another drought year in wine country that produced a small crop but good quality wines.

 

2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley:  Clear medium red with a purple rim, nice perfume of earthy raspberries and violets. dusty, chewy, crushed black fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids, nice balance.