Last Saturday afternoon I took a drive out to Long Island wine country. It was a nice day for a drive. I’ve been coming to the wine country for a couple of decades now and have seen the industry grow from a handful of wineries to 37. This afternoon I decided to stay on the main road (Route 25). My first stop was at Comtesse Therese Bistro on 739 Main Road Aquebogue. The Bistro is in a charming, restored, circa 1800’s home. The tasting room is located in the Bistro. Comtesse Therese is a small production winery. This winery is interesting in that it uses oak barrels from different countries, in addition to French oak they use Hungarian and Russian oak. This day I tasted through five of their Merlot. The last two, the 05 and the recently released 07 Chateau Reserve Merlot were particularly tasty. Roasted coffee and dark chocolate on the nose, tight fruit with good balance they had more in common with a French Bordeaux than a Cali Merlot.

Driving eastward on the Main Road, I stopped at Lenz Winery located at 38355 Route 25. Lenz, established in 1978, is one of the founding fathers of the Long Island wine industry. The tasting room is in a rustic barn-like building. Lenz is known for their Merlot and they make pretty good sparking wine as well. I had the premium tasting. The 08 Old Vines Chardonnay was full of tropical fruit flavors with a cinnamon finish. The 05 Cuvee sparking wine made from 100% Pinot Noir was crisp and balance. The winery holds back bottles from older vintages so there is an opportunity to try some of their wines with some bottle age. I had the 02 Old Vines Merlot which had interesting toasty flavors and was holding up well.

Heading back West, my final stop was at Bedell Cellars Winery, located at 36225 Route 25. The tasting room was in front with another larger enclosed tasting room out back. In the back tasting room that day they had a four piece jazz band playing some good tunes. I enjoyed the music while drinking a glass of their 2010 First Crush white which is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. It was a fresh, easy drinking white wine.

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