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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.

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