Roof-Top Wine

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Saturday afternoon I attended a wine tasting event run by Ave Gourmet which advertises it’s events as “high-end tastings of the world’s best wine”. This is the second event run by this organization that I’ve attended and I’m not sure if I would say the world’s best wines but they do throw a fun party with some decent juice to be had. This tasting was held at the Gallow Green, a roof-top bar at the McKittrick Hotel located very far west at 542 West 27 Street. Very nice spot like an outdoor garden with lots of plants and greenery, and it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon to be outdoors.

It was a casual tasting and I was able to score a table which I soon shared with a couple of lovely ladies. They started us with a glass of Drusian Prosecco, I’m not a big fan of Prosescco but it was a nice way to start the tasting, after that they poured:

Donna Laura Pinot Grigio which was light yellow and dry, a little bland but drinkable.
The 2008 Prophet’s Rock Dry Riesling from Central Otago, New Zealand had a nose of peaches and was dry and lemony with mouth puckering acids on the finish.

The 2010 Saint Andre de Fiquire Cotes de Provence Rose was salmon colored with a nice balanced mouth-feel of cherry and herbs. Very drinkable

They poured four reds and I started with the 2010 “Little J” red blend from Western Cape, South Africa. It was dark red with a toasty and floral nose with sour cherry notes on the fruit with very crisp acids on the finish.

The 2012 Les Fontanelles Pinot Noir from Languedoc, France was light red in color with a nose of sweet cherry and candy cherry notes on the fruit with the finish dropping, a little bland at the end.

A local wine, Macari’s Collina 48 North Fork Long Island, Non-Vintage Merlot was dark red with a nose of sea air and dark plums and had tight black cherry fruit and a firm balance.

The 2012 Dos Fincas Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec blend from Mendoza, Argentina was dark red to black in color with a nose of black licorice and cherry and was tight and tart with firm tannins on the end.


North Fork Sunday

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It’s been a while since I took a road trip to the North Fork wineries and It was a nice Sunday afternoon for a drive. I stopped by a couple of favorites and a couple of newly opened tasting rooms.

As usual, I began the tasting tour at The Winemakers Studio at 2885 Peconic Lane.  The studio is a cooperative tasting room run by Anthony Nappa that features wines he produces and the pet projects of local winemakers. It also is a good place to catch up on the local wine gossip and to find out if any new tasting rooms opened up.

At the Studio I started with the 2011 Anthony Nappa “Bliss” Rose. It was medium red in the glass with some earth notes on the nose with crisp acidity on the finish. A bit tart for my taste.  The 2012 SuHru Pinot Grigio made with Finger Lakes fruit had a greenish tint in the glass with a nose of bubble-gum with an oily mouth-feel with nice acidity and lime notes on the finish. A little more interesting than the mass-produced Pinot Grigio on the market.  I enjoyed the 2012 Anthony Nappa “Bordo” Cabernet Franc. Fermented wild without any additives, with a nose of dark cocoa and coffee with black cherry fruit and a balanced, long smoky finish. I didn’t  get any of the green, vegetal aromas you get with many Cabernet Franc. I was told of some new tasting rooms that have opened since I was in the area last.

My next stop was to one of my favorites, One Women Winery at 5195 Old North Road. A truly family run operation with a cozy shack for a tasting room and very friendly pourers, they produce the only Gruner Veltliner on Long Island. They had just released the 2012’s so I started with the 2012 Gruner Veltliner which was yellow in the glass with a nose of ripe peaches and nice acidity. The 2012 Gewurztraminer was light yellow with a big floral nose and cinnamon notes. The 2012 Rose was dark pink and full-bodied with a nose of earth and dark flowers. The 2010 Merlot was dark purple with a nose of black licorice and was chewy and dusty and was tight with dusty tannins on the finish.

Driving East from One Women I made my way to a new tasting room, the Kontokosta Winery at 825 North Road. Sprawling grounds surrounded by vines and a brand new tasting room that opened this past June. The view from the tasting room was outstanding and you can take glass and walk down the road for a view of the sound which I didn’t do this time around. I had a flight of four wines and  started with the 2009 “Orient” Chardonnay and then to the 2010 Viognier which was dark yellow with a nose of ripe peaches and was very tight with crisp acids with some oiliness and burnt rubber notes on the finish. The 2007 Merlot was very interesting. If I would have tried this wine blind I would have been sure it was a Chianti. The color was black with a purple robe and had the classic Sangiovese nose of violets, tar and crushed blackberries with silky fruit and tongue tighting tannins on the finish. The 2007 Cabernet Franc was dark purple with a nose of stewed fruit and black licorice with dusty stewed fruit and roasted coffee on the finish.

Working my way back East I stopped another new tasting room, Coffee Pot Cellars. Another second project from one of the local winemakers, I’ve had the wines at the Winemakers Studio but it seems the winemaker decided to open their own tasting room. They also like bees. The winemakers are bee keepers as well and you can see part of a real live hive in the tasting room, enclosed in glass of course. It’s a no frills room pouring four wines. I started with the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc which had a very stinky, barnyard nose and was crisp and tart. The 2011 Chardonnay was gold in color with a nose of ripe melon and honey with notes of rosemary on the finish.  The 2008 Merlot was dark purple with a nose of violet, tar and red cherry with tight, chunky fruit and a crisp finish.  I ended with the 2008 Meritage which was dark red with a nose of roasted coffee with toasty fruit.

The last stop of the day was at another new tasting room located on Love Lane. There are two roads on the North Fork wine trail, Sound Avenue and Route 25. At some point they are separated by only a couple of blocks, that is Love Lane and it’s like a mini village with various shops. Roanoke Vineyards opened a second tasting room on the Lane. I’m quite familiar with the original tasting room if only because it’s the last room before the expressway and it’s open late. The juice is not bad either. The Love Lane tasting room is cozy with a nice little “piazza” out back. I had a glass of the 2012 “The Wild” Chardonnay which is made with wild yeasts, had a seat in the piazza and called it a day.

South American Wines

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Summer is the slow season when it comes to trade tastings. September is looking like it will be a bountiful month for the drinking of the juice. Fortunately at this time of year, there are still some consumer events to keep the palate fine tuned. On Tuesday I attended a tasting at Vino Versity wine shop located at 1657 first avenue. The theme was South American wines and they poured a couple of dozen whites and reds. While I wasn’t blown away by anything particular wine, it was a fun evening.

With the whites, the 2012 Cucao Winery Pedro Ximenez (Chile) was something different, anytime I’ve had this grape in the past it’s been as a sweet sherry. This one was dry with a nose of bread dough and white flowers with some of the dough components on the fruit and was crisp and very drinkable.

2011 Michel Torrino “Cuma” Organic Torrentes (Argentina) had a big sweet, nose of cinnamon and lychee with grapefruit notes with good acid and grapefruit peel on the finish.

2012 Pulenta Estate Pinot Gris (Argentina) had some nice weight to it for a Pinot with a nose of white flowers with some earth notes on the finish.

2012 DeMartino Legado Reserva Chardonnay (Chile) had a nose of very ripe melons and white flowers and was tight and lemony with good balance and some heat at the end.

With the reds, the 2011 Vina Tabali Reserva Carmenare (Chile) was black in color with a perfume of crushed black berries and mint with chewy, bacony and meaty notes on the young fruit with some tartness at the end.

2012 Casarena “505” Malbec  (Argentina) was dark purple in the glass with a nose of herbs and red flowers with firm fruit of leather and meat with a long finish.

2011 Bodega Bouza Reserva Tannat (Urugauy) was black in color and was chunky, chewy, dusty and smoky.

2010 Ruca Malen Reserva Petit Verdot (Argentina) was black and concentrated with hints of herbs and black currents and was nicely balanced.

2012 Pulenta “Lar Flor” Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina) was dark purple in the glass with a nose of bell pepper and crushed blackberries with chewy fruit and black licorice and bell pepper notes on the finish.

2010 DeMartino Lagado Reserva Syrah (Chile) was black with a nose of ripe flowers and sweet cherries and was meaty and tight with firm acids.