North Fork Tastings

Took a drive to the North Fork wine country, was curious to try the new winery (EV&EM) that was under renovation the last time I visited the area.

Pellegrini Vineyards 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue

One of the early wineries in the area opened in 1991 with 70 acres of vines planted and a distinctive architecture for the winery and a wood beamed tasting room (with cherubs!).

2019 Stainless Steel Chardonnay

Unoaked, light gold in color with grassy cooked fruit on the nose, clean and crisp with lime notes at the finish.

EV & EM Vineyards 3165 Main Road, Laurel

Former Laurel Lake Vineyards, new owner completely renovated the tasting room. The winery was named after the owners two children, Everett and Emilia.

2019 Cabernet Franc

Clear dark brick with an amber rim with tobacco and green olives on the nose, silky red fruit, chewy and dusty with nice balance.

Paumanok Vineyards

1074 Main Road (Rt 25), Aquebogue

Paumanok Vineyards is one of the original founding fathers of the North Shore Long Island wine industry. It was founded in 1983 by Ursula and Charles Massoud.

It’s the first winery you run into on the North Shore wine route (Main Road) as you are travelling Eastbound.

They are an under the radar winery that have been pumping out drinkable wine for years, they are one of the few wineries growing and bottling a Chenin Blanc.

The sunny tasting room overlooks the vineyard, and not surprisanly, the winery facilities are in a converted barn.

On this visit I decide to sample a couple of red.

2019 Estate Cabernet Franc

100% Cabernet Franc. Opaque black with a purple rim, crushed raspberry and bacon fat on the nose, juicy, silky dark fruit with some black licorice notes on the finish. Moderate tannins and acids, very drinkable.

2019 Estate Petit Verdot

100% Petit Verdot. Opaque black in color with crushed rocks and spicy crushed black fruit on the nose, tart black fruit followed by firm tannins.

Macari Vineyards

Macari Vineyards in located in the North Fork of Long Island wine country at 150 Bergen Avenue in Mattituck. That’s right off of Sound Avenue which is one of the two main roads along with Route 25 (Main Road) of the North Fork wine trail.

It’s a three-generation family run winery that was started by Joseph T. Macari in 1995 who purchased an old potato farm. They do have another tasting room off the main road in Cutchogue but that seems to be closed most of the time.

On the afternoon I visited I noticed an unusual bottle sitting on the tasting table and decided to give it a try.

2020 “Horses” Cabernet Franc

This is a Pet-Nat (petillant naturel) wine topped with a metal stopper. Clear bright dark red in color with a light fizz to it and was earthy and crisp on the palate.

2017 Y. Rousseau Single Vineyard Tannat

This wine is not something you see coming out of California very often, a wine from the Tannat grape varietal. The grape is native to the French Basque region in the southwest part of the country and grown in Gascony in the Madiran AOC.

It’s been grown in California for over a hundred year used primarily as a blending grape to beef up wines. It’s gotten a foot hold in Paso Robles but this version is grown in the tiny Clarksburg AVA which is West of Napa Valley and about an hours drive North of Lodi.

Yannick Rousseau, a French native born in Gascony is the owner/winemaker.

2017 Y. Rousseau Tannat, Clarksburg, California

A blend of 90% Tannat and 10% Syrah. Opaque dark purple to black with crushed blueberries, menthol and sage on the nose, juicy black fruit finishing with dark citrus notes, mouth coating tannins and moderate acidity.

McCall Winery

McCall Wines 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue

McCall began producing wine in 2007. A couple of unique things about this winery are that they have 11 acres of Pinot Noir planted which is one of the biggest Pinot Noir vineyards on the East coast and that in addition to growing grapes, they also are a cattle ranch raising grass-fed Charolais cattle, which is an historic breed from France.

The tasting room is in a rustic former potato barn not too far from the huge wine turbine they have on property.

2016 Chardonnay “Reserve”

Dark gold in color with an aromatic nose of tropical fruits, big bodied with honey, melon, pineapple and mouth filling glycerin on the finish with some nice acidity at the end. Starting to show its age but still very drinkable in an old school California full bodied style.

2016 Cabernet Franc

Clear medium brick in color with an amber rim, black cherry and sweet spice on the nose with tar, leather and black fruit ending with some tart notes on the finish.

Clovis Point Winery

Clovis Point Winery 1935 Main Road, Jamesport

Clovis Point Winery is one of the 3rd tier wineries that were opened after the start of the new millennium with about 10 acres of vines planted

They’re an under the radar winery making some very nice wines and on a sunny weekday afternoon, I stopped in to their barn tasting room overlooking the vineyards and sampled of couple of those wines.

2019 Sauvignon Blanc

Medium gold with lime and melon on the nose, medium fruit with citrus, spice, grassy notes and nice acidity on the finish. Nicely balanced.

2016 Merlot: 85% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah, 2% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot.

Opaque dark red with a purple rim, dusty plum, dark chocolate and black cherry on the nose, medium juicy fruit with dark chocolate notes on the finish, great balance with a long finish.

2016 Acacia Vineyards Pinot Noir Thornton Vineyard

Now that the weather is warming up it’s almost Rosé season but in the meantime I’ll start with lighter bodied reds which often mean some Pinot Noir.

Acacia is a winery in the Carneros district of Sonoma county in California which bottle vineyard designated Pinot Noir.

2016 Acacia Pinot Noir Thornton Vineyard

Clear medium to light red in color, warm black plum, tree bark and red cherry on the nose, red leather, black cherry and cola notes on the silky red fruit with a nicely balanced, long spicy finish. Really nice, enjoyable glass of wine.

Touring Long Island Wine Country

 

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With the lockdown edicts still in effect, travelling to Long Island wine country, not surprisingly, hasn’t been the same. Some tasting rooms are more restrictive than others and there is only so much hummus and potato chips I can eat in one day. So I enjoy driving around wine country and taking in the scenery and taking photos of interesting things. Last time out those interesting things were barns.  Instead of stopping at multiple wineries I just stopped at one on the way back to the LIE to have a glass for the road. 

 

 

Sherwood House Vineyards  1291 Main Road, Jamesport

One of the first wineries you run into travelling East on the main road, it’s connected to an antique shop with many of the shops artwork scattered around the grounds. The tasting room is very winter friendly with comfortable couches, a roaring fireplace and nice wine glasses. 

 

2016 Oregon Road Cabernet Franc

Made from estate grown grapes. Medium brick in color with black pepper on the nose, medium to light bodied with some tar notes, black pepper and licorice on the balanced finish. Nice glass of wine. 

2016 Oregon Road Red Blend

A blend of estate grown Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium brick in color, crushed red berries and anise on the nose, tight bright red fruit with a mouthful of tannin and a firm finish. I thought it was a little one dimensional. 

 

 

 

2016 Brancaia “Tre” Rosso Toscana

 

 

2016 Brancaia Rosso Toscana “Tre”

Juice from three of their Tuscan estates with 80% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Clear medium brick, complicated aromas of gun metal, tar, roast meat and sweet red fruit on the nose, starts out with dark fruit notes and ends with bitter cherry, dark chocolate and firm tannins at the finish. 

 

 

August Day At The Wineries

 

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Still the only game in town, drove out on this sunny, hot August afternoon to sit in the vineyards for a glass. 

 

Palmer Vineyards  5120 Sound Avenue, Riverhead

One of the original wineries on Long Island. Recently purchased and now owned by the Massoud family who own Paumanok Vineyards as well.

2018 Viognier: Medium yellow in color, honeysuckle on the nose, tight and crisp with green herbs and lemon on the finish. Not as lush as I was expecting for a Viognier. 

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Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Route 25, Southold

A small family farm whose motto is “wine, passion and craftmanship”

2017 Steel Chardonnay: 100% fermented in steel. Medium yellow in color, cooked fruit and green asparagus on the nose, moderate fruit, crisp finish with lime notes. Tasted like an older wine. 

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Sherwood House Vineyards  1291 Main Road, Jamesport

A comfortable tasting room with an adjacent art gallery, one of the few tasting rooms serving wine in a respectable glass.

2017 Oregon Road Chardonnay: Steel Fermented. Light yellow in color, sweet tangerine and pear notes on the nose, dusty, firm fruit with nice mouth watering acidity.