Pinot Blanc On Long Island

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Pinot Blanc is a white grape that is a genetic cousin to Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and has similar characteristics to Chardonnay. It’s a major grape in places like Alsace, France and Friuli, Italy but not widely grown on the North Fork of Long Island. Only a handful of wineries bottle a Pinot Blanc.  On a sunny Saturday afternoon I took a drive out to sample a few.

 

Lieb Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue

Winery established in 1992 with small production, all estate wines.

2016 Pinot Blanc “Reserve”. Their signature wine from some of the oldest vines on the North Fork (circa 1983). 100% fermented in stainless steel with zero percent residual sugar. Medium yellow with white flowers and lemon custard on the nose, crisp and steely with lime notes on the finish

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Shinn Estate Vineyards  2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

A certified sustainable winery with a Bed & Breakfast, new owners took over in 2017 and recently renovated the tasting room including an impressive barrel room tasting area.

2016 Pinot Blanc. Hand harvested and fermented in oak for six months in puncheon barrels, this wine is stylistically 180° from the Lieb Pinot Blanc. Medium to dark gold in color with very ripe peaches and oak on the nose, ripe fruit with cooked notes on the finish,  not nearly as fresh as the Lieb. 96 cases.

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Palmer Vineyards  108 Sound Avenue, Aquabogue

One of the original wineries on the North Fork established in 1983 with 90 acres planted and one of the few if only winery on Long Island to bottle an Albariño.

2017 Pinot Blanc. Medium to light yellow in color with a greenish tint, pineapple and ripe flowers on the nose, crisp with green herb notes on the finish. 124 cases.

 

 

 

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Petit Verdot On Long Island

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Petit Verdot is one of the classic varieties used in blending in Bordeaux. It’s an early ripening varietal and its dense fruit, dark color and high tannins mean “a little goes a long way” when used in the blend.

It’s grown on Long Island in small amounts used primarily as a blending grape as well but a few wineries bottle it on its own and when you go to the tasting room, it’s usually the most expensive wine by the glass option.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon I drove out to wine country to sample a few.

 

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards  7490 Alvans Lane, Cutchogue

This winery practices sustainable viticulture and has a Bed & Breakfast on property

2014 Petit Verdot “Spotlight”. Black in color with a purple rim, crushed raspberry on the nose with slate and crushed rock notes on the tight and tart finish, moderate tannins.

2013 Petit Verdot “Spotlight”. Inky black with a purple rim, mint and cooked fruit on the nose, chewy dusty dark chocolate on the fruit with nice acidity. More fruit forward than the ’14.

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Pellegrini Vineyards  23005 Main Road, Cutchogue

This winery was founded in 1991 and features a two-story oak beamed tasting room.

2012 Petit Verdot “Estate”. Black with a purple rim, slate and crushed black fruit on the nose, crushed red berries and some smoke on the fruit, moderate tannins and low acid with lavender notes on the finish.

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Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards  44075 Main Road, Peconic

The first vines at this vineyard were planted in 1983, this was the most crowded tasting room the day I visited.

2013 Petit Verdot “Reserve”. Inky black, corked?, closed nose with smoky, dense fruit with moderate acids. Corked notes blew off after a few minutes in the glass.

 

 

More Red Blends On Long Island

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Long Island wine country is about a hundred miles East of Manhattan. From my neighborhood it’s an easy drive on the Long Island expressway straight East as the crow flies to the end of the highway at exit 73. Make a quick right at the outlet mall and keep driving East until you come across the wineries. The road splits in two, main road (route 25) and sound avenue with wineries lining both roads.

On an overcast Sunday afternoon I took another drive out and sampled red blends.

 

Peconic Cellar Door  2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic

This tasting room shares the same building at the Winemakers Studio, they pour wines from wineries that don’t have their own tasting rooms.

2014 As If Wines “Persistence”. This is the first time I’ve tried wines from this producer, they buy local grapes and vinify at a local crush.

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, very dark purple with a purple rim, dark chocolate and sour cherry notes on the nose, tight, bright fruit with crisp acidity and some stemmines on the finish.

 

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Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Main Road, Southhold.

The is a small, mom and pop vineyard operation using sustainable viticultural practices for their Italian heritage influenced wines with a small, cozy tasting room.

2008 “Old World Blend”. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the owners was pouring and highly recommended that I try this wine because the wine has aged well and at its peak now. Dark red to black in color with crushed dark fruit and some mint on the nose, chewy dusty fruit and silky tannins, roast nuts and violets on the finish. If I would have tasted this wine blind I would have guessed Chianti.

 

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Lenz Vineyards  38355 Main Road, Peconic

One of the original wineries out east, established in 1978.

2014 Merlot “Estate”. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, Black and thick in color, peppermint and crushed rocks on the nose, tight, plummy fruit with tart, firm acids at the end.  

 

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Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room, Love Lane, Mattituck.

Long Island’s only membership based vineyard, their tasting room is on Love Lane, a two block long business district with a nice deli across the street and a cheese shop next door.

2015 “Marco Tulio“. About an equal blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, dark red, damp earth and slate on the nose, chewy dark fruit, balance acidity with chocolate notes on the finish.

 

 

Planet Bordeaux NYC

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Planet Bordeaux is a French trade organization that represents the wineries of the Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Superieur appellations from the world’s largest fine-wine vineyards. Bordeaux is justifiably famous for its grand cru wines from the famous Chateaux. Those wines are also very expensive but these off the radar regional wines, which are over half the production of the Bordeaux appellation, are more accessible in both price and style.

In February and March the organization held various trade and consumer tastings of its member wineries around New York City. On Sunday evening March 4th, they held a tasting for members of the trade. That tasting was held at O’Cabanon restaurant located at 245 West 29th street in Manhattan.

They poured sparkling wines, whites and several reds, many from the excellent 2015 vintage but from other vintages as well. I wasn’t familiar with many of the producers but there were some nice drinking wines that didn’t break the bank.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2010 Chateau Montlau

2012 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2014 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2012 Chateau La Rose du Pin

2014 M de Monsegur Reserve Cabernet Franc

2013 Chateau Boutinet

2014 Chateau Donjon de Bruignac

2014 Chateau de Seguin Cuvee Carpe Diem

2014 Chateau La France Cuvee Gallus

2015 Chateau Grand Jean

2015 Chateau Lauduc

2015 Chateau Lauduc Grande Cuvee

2015 Chateau Montlau

2015 Chateau de Bel

2015 Chateau Tayet Cuvee Prestige

2016 Chateau Haut Favereau

2016 Ipsum Carmenere

 

Malbec On Long Island

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Malbec is one of the varietals allowed in the Bordeaux blend but not widely grown there today. It is however, the most important grape in Cahors in the south-western part of France and in Argentina where it usually makes for a beefier wine than in Cahors. Out on Long Island production is limited and a few wineries bottle it on its own. I drove out one Sunday afternoon to try some. These cool weather wines had more in common with Cahors than Argentina.

 

Lenz Winery 38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz is celebrating its 39th year which makes it ancient on the north fork. They are known for their Merlot but they bottle a Malbec as well.

2014 Malbec: Black with a purple rim, slate and black fruit on the nose, graphite and slate notes on the juicy fruit ending with dusty tannins.

 

Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

Family owned winery with an always crowded tasting room.

2016 Malbec: Dark purple with a purple rim, crushed stone and cooked fruit on the nose with mint notes starting to show as the wine opened in the glass, tight, sour cherry notes on the light finish.

 

Shinn Estate Vineyard 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Established in 2000 and whose motto is “heritage, history & heart”, they recently changed ownership.

2013 Malbec: About 38 cases produced, black in color, sweet berry, mint and dark violets on the nose, dark and concentrated fruit with tart blueberry notes.

 

 

Matter of Taste New York 2017

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate presented its Matter of Taste wine event on Sunday, December 3rd. It was the final event of the year of their global tasting series that had similar events held in London, Singapore and Macau. This year’s theme was The Ultimate Cult Cabernets and Champagne and featured over 300 wines rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The event was held at the Conrad hotel located at 102 North End Avenue in lower Manhattan and was a walk-around tasting with a couple of seminars thrown in.

Wines were offered from many of the wine-producing countries of the world but the stars of the afternoon were the Cult Cabernets from California. There were many high-end wines from Washington State as well. As with tastings of this size I had to focus my efforts and that focus was on the California wines. Without a doubt this was one of the best tastings of the year with a copious amount of the best wines from California available for tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

California

2014 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with chewy, cocoa and tobacco fruit on the nice balance.

2013 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Mostly Cabernet Franc, black in color, graphite on the nose, tight with teeth coating tannins at the end.

2014 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Ganymede” (Napa Valley). Black, warm cooked fruit on the nose, concentrated and thick with green herbs on the finish, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Tomahawk” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed black fruit and sage on the nose, concentrated with firm tannins, moderate acidity.

2013  Chimney Rock “Elevage” (Stags Leap District). Bordeaux blend, Black with a sweet perfume of violets and cooked ripe fruit, tight and concentrated black fruit with a good grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon “Hirondelle Estate” (Napa Valley). Black, green vegetable nose, black fruit, firm finish, nice balance

2014 DuMol Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs on the nose, concentrated with nice balance.

2011 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Dark red to black, green herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2012 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Black with green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose, dusty, firm, with cocoa notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Gemstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alluvial Selection” (Napa Valley). Dark purple with tobacco and green herbs on the nose, chewy with moderate tannin and acids.

2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, cinnamon spice on the nose, tight and concentrated with silky tannins and coffee notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2014 Hertelendy Audère Red Blend (Napa Valley). Black, sweet black cherry on the nose, concentrated and tight with big tannins.

2014 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted nuts on the nose with tight, silky red fruit with tobacco notes on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma). Black with a perfume of black leather, chewy and chunky with a nice balance.

2014 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Solari” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of tree bark, concentrated and juicy with a balanced finish.

2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate and dark red fruit on the nose, dusty, cocoa and nice silky tannin on the fruit.

2014 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Collector’s Reserve” (Napa Valley). Dark red with graphite and fresh herbs on the nose, dusty slate notes on the concentrated fruit, nice grip.

2015 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, plum and green herbs on the nose, deep red fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2013 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “M” (Napa Valley). Single vineyard Cabernet, dark purple to black, graphite and dark chocolate on the nose, firm and balanced on the long finish.

2013 Mauriston Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Suther” (Sonoma). Dark purple with a perfume of smoky violets, dusty black cherry fruit ending with teeth coating tannins.

2014 Newton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Dark red to black, sweet black fruit on the nose, green herb notes on the concentrated fruit, drops a bit at the end.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mtn). Black with a perfume of mint, tar and crushed sweet black fruit, juicy, crushed fruit, moderate acidity, tasty.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, sweet perfume of plums and toast, dusty concentrated, firm finish.

2014 Quintessa Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, green herbs on the nose, juicy fruit with nice balance and a long finish.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Napa Valley). Black, camphor, black fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending with firm tannins.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Godspeed Vineyard” (Sonoma). Black, big perfume of mint, tight and concentrated with toast notes on the firm finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard George III” (Napa Valley). Dark red, fresh herbs on the nose, dusty black fruit with a nice finish.

2014 Sojurn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Medium red, closed nose of spice with dusty red fruit and a long finish.

2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon “MM Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Black with tobacco and red cherry on the nose, chewy tobacco notes on the balanced fruit.

Others

2010 Chateau Phelan-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark red, nice perfume of tar, tight dark fruit with silky tannins on the moderate to long finish.

2008 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Dark red, camphor and petroleum on the nose with concentrated dark fruit with a grip of bitter black cherry at the end.

2014 La Croix de Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Medium red with herbs and toast on the nose, bell pepper notes on the moderate fruit and firm tannins.

 

More Rosé On Long Island

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We’re now at the dog days of Summer which in New York City usually means hot sweltering days and muggy nights reminding me of some the lyrics from the 1966 Loving Spoonful song “Summer in the City” about the back of me head getting dirty and gritty.

But not this Summer. It has been unusually mild and comfortable with Spring like temperatures and low humidity. It still is rosé season though and I drove out East to try some more.

 

Winemaker Studio  2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic

The Studio is a 100 year old general store owned by winemaker Anthony Nappa as a cooperative tasting room to showcase and taste his wines as well as the wines of Vineyards that don’t have their own tasting rooms. Since I was there last the deli next door was converted into another tasting room.

2016 Saltbird “Roseate”

This is the first wine I’ve tried from this producer. Made from a Syrah and Cabernet Franc blend, medium pink, crushed strawberry on the nose, light fruit, low acid, a little neutral but easy drinking.

 

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Kontokosta Winery  825 North Road, Greenport

This winery is a fairly new one on the east end wine scene with the North Fork’s “first and only waterfront winery and tasting room”. About as far East as you can get on the north fork of the island near the town of Greenport. It’s a huge if a little sterile, property with views of the Long Island sound.

2016 Rosé

A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Light copper in color, honeydew on the nose with green herbs on the fruit, low acids.

 

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Laurel Lake Vineyards  3165 Main Road, Laurel

A small vineyard owned by Chilean and American vintners.

2016 “Lake Rosé”

Made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Pale pink in color, cantaloupe on the nose, juicy melon notes on the fruit, moderate acidity.

 

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Paumonok Vineyards  1074 Main Road, Aquebogue

One of the original wineries founded in 1983

2016 Rosé

A Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend. Rust in color with asparagus notes on the nose with crisp cherry notes on the fruit.