ABC is an acronym for anything but Chardonnay or anything but Cabernet. That is a way to say that people should break out of their comfort zones of drinking the same thing all the time and try to drink other varietals other than Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Out on Long Island, the stalwart grapes are Chardonnay for white and early-ripening Merlot for red. There are other varietals planted, some more obscure than others and many with only a relatively few acres planted. On Sunday I took a trip out East to try those different and sometimes overlooked (for Long Island) wines.
Paumanok Vineyards: 1074 Main Rd., Aquebogue. One of the originals founded in 1983. A family run operation with the tasting room in a renovated turn of the century barn.
2014 Chenin Blanc. As far as I know the only Chenin grown out East, unoaked steel fermented 100% Chenin Blanc. Pale yellow in color, floral lemon and grapefruit on the nose with bright, clean fruit and a nice, crisp finish with lemon notes at the end.
One-Women Vineyards: 5195 Old North Road, Southold. Small winery with owner/winemaker Claudia Purita (the one-women), off the main road with a little red shack for a tasting room. They have a tasting room in Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan as well.
2014 Gruner Veltliner. The first and only producer of this Austrian varietal on Long Island with about four acres planted . Light yellow with some greenish tints, floral peach on the nose, peach and earth notes on the moderate fruit with good acidity on the balanced finish. This vintage is showing more fruit than the previous one.
Osprey’s Dominion Winery: 44075 Main Road, Peconic, Right off the main road with a large tasting room and picnic facilities.
2012 Carmenere. I believe the only winery to grow this varietal on Long Island with 2.25 acres planted. Originally planted in the Medoc region of France and one of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux, it is a member of the Cabernet family. Rare now in France, widely planted in Chile. Served in a small glass, inky black in color, crushed red berries on the nose, concentrated and silky with juicy mint and some smoke on the balanced finish.
Pelligrini Vineyards: 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue. Founded in 1983 with a pretty tasting room and self guided tours of the barrel room.
2001 Petit Verdot. One of the red grape varietals of the Bordeaux blend and not too often bottled on its own. Served in a small glass, inky black with big dark cocoa on the nose with that dark chocolate, black and pepper and some smoke coming through on the fruit.
My pet peeve: One part of the enjoyment of wine is drinking it in the proper vessel. That’s why the mouthfeel of the wine is better in a glass than in a paper cup. I understand that in a tasting room when you are pouring flights of wine, they use small wine glasses that are basically oversized shot glasses. To serve a full glass of wine in one of those classes really takes away from the experience. Being able to swirl the wine and getting your nose into the glass for a sniff of the aromas adds to the pleasure of drinking the wine as well as permitting the wine to open up and show all the aromas. It doesn’t have to be a Reidel glass but just something big enough to swirl the wine.