Barrel Samples On Long Island

This past holiday weekend I decided to take a road trip to Long Island wine country on Sunday. Before I start I just have to mention one of my pet peeves when it comes to wine drinking. Wine glasses. The wine drinking experience is enhanced with the proper glass. The same wine will always taste better in a proper wine glass than in a plastic cup. Some wineries insist on pouring their tastings in thimble sized wine glasses. You can’t swirl, you can’t sniff, you can’t observe the color of the wine. You would think that wineries would want to showcase their product in the best light possible and I don’t mind paying to taste the wines, the least they can do is serve the wine in the proper glass.

My first stop of the day was at Waters Crest Winery at 22355 Route 48 in Cutchogue. The under the radar tasting room is the only one on Long Island located in a strip mall. The owner/winemaker Jim Waters is a negociant, he doesnt’ own any vineyards but buys grapes from local growers. I started the tasting with a sample of their 2011 Rose. What caught my eye was the bottle had the same shape as the prestigious Domaines Ott Rose. The bottle was nice and the wine wasn’t bad either, salmon color, dry with a clean, crisp finish. As I was sipping the wine, I heard the sounds of a crowd coming from the barrel room in the back. I asked the pourer what was going on and she told me they were there for the barrel sample tasting. I asked if that was still available and it was, so I made my way to the back room where Mr. Jim Waters and his wine thief gave out samples of four of his 2010 red wines. 2010 was a great vintage for Long Island so I had high hopes. The wines didn’t disappoint. The 2010 Merlot was harvested at 1.5 tons per acre and was dark to black, dense and chewy with some mint and cinnamon on the nose with moderate tannins. The 2010 Cabernet Franc was black with a nose of dried herbs, dense, with great fruit and silky tannins and moderat acids on the finish. The 2010 “Book Ends” was 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Cabernet Franc rounding out the rest. It was dark and concentrated with a huge aromatic nose of crushed blueberries and dried herbs, great balance with a moderate to long finish. The last wine poured was the 2010 “Campania Rosso” and it is 85% Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc filling out the rest. It was black and concentrated with a nose of vanilla, cinnamon, crushed blueberries concentrated fruit with firm tannins and acids. I did get some heat on the finish but still a tasty wine. And they did serve the wines in a proper glass, small to medium with the upper part of the glass tapered in.

Next stop was Anthony Nappa’s Winemakers Studio located at 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic. Many of the local winemakers have side projects and bottle wines under a second label. They are poured at this tasting room which is in a former 19th century general store. They had two new red wines they I haven’t had before both made by Anthony Nappa.

The 2010 “Dieci” is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It was dark red to black with dried red fruits on the nose, chewy, chocolatey fruit with good balance. The 2010 “Blackbird” is 100% Merlot. It was dark red to black, ripe red cherry on the nose, tight fruit with firm tannins on the moderate to long finish. Nice wines. They do serve in a small wine glass but at least the shape was correct.

My last stop of the afternoon was at Clovis Point Winery located at 1935 Main Road in Jamesport. I’ve been here a few times before but only had their whites, today I had their red flight. And they served them in real Riedel wine glasses! The wines I enjoyed:


The 2005 Merlot had a nose of dusty prunes and spice with dusty fruit and good balance on the finish. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon was black with toasty oak and mint on the nose with fruit of crushed blackberries.  The 2008 Cabernet Franc was medium red with white pepper on the nose, tight fruit with a peppery finish. The 2006 “Vitners Select” Merlot was unusual. It was made from free run juice, that is the grapes were not run through a wine-press. Medium dark with a nose of stewed fruits, tight with mouth filling tannins and crisp acids on the finish.

After the tasting I grabbed a glass of their NV Rose (100% Cab Franc) and relaxed out back before heading home.

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