Story by Christopher J. Davies
Welcome to Spring 2003!
After a cold and blustery winter, spring has arrived to welcoming arms. Although the vineyards have been dormant, winemakers have been busy preparing to release their newest wines.
Banfi Vintners, Old Brookville, NY
Old Brookville Chardonnay 2001, $14.00
Banfi Vintners, a major US importer & distributor of wines from Italy & Chile, is headquartered on Long Island's "Gold Coast" in Gatzbyesque Old Brookville. Adjacent their 60-room Elizabethan Mansion, lies 47 acres of Chardonnay under vine. Banfi's vineyard is Long Island's most westerly located vineyard, having earned a reputation as the "closest vineyard to Broadway"! There is a reason why the vineyards no longer exist in Nassau & Queens. Growing grapes in Old Brookville is drastically more difficult than on the East End. Old Brookville does not enjoy the sheltered "Bordeaux Micro-climate" of the North Fork. This accounts for the spotty, inconsistent harvests although their soil is highly calcareous and nutrient-rich.
2001 Old Brookville Chardonnay is a medium bodied, barrel fermented chardonnay, with medium toast and hints of butterscotch. Try this wine with seafood, game or poultry.
1111 Cedar Swamp Road
Old Brookville, NY 11545
Tel. (516) 626-9200
Castello di Borghese, Cutchogue, NY
Long Island's founding vineyard (formerly Hargrave) has morphed into a tony wine producer under the careful watch of proprietor's Marco & Ann Marie Borghese. The Borghese's have surgically enhanced the vineyards, improving the quality of their wines and artistically transforming their wine labels during three short years. This has given veteran winemaker Mark Terry the ability to create the quality wines he has longed to make.
Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2001, $22.00
A slightly tart and tangy Chardonnay with hints of vanilla. Aged in French oak, resulting in a toasty aroma. This is a classic Burgundian styled wine suitable for sharing with your special friends . Pair with poultry, shrimp, scallops or Oysters Rockefeller.
Cabernet Franc 2000 Reserve, $25.00
This grape is a favorite blending grape for winemakers. Local winemakers are discovering that the ideal micro-climate of the North Fork, produces excellent Cabernet Franc! Castello di Borghese is one of a select group of "Cab Franc" producers on Long Island. This is a rich and flavorful red with berry flavors. Aged in French oak for two years. Well balanced and long finish. Try with Foie Gras, Veal Chops or Asiago.
Castello di Borghese
Rte 48 & Alvah's Lane
Cutchogue, NY 11935
Tel. (631) 734-5111
Jamesport Vineyards, Jamesport, NY
Father & Son Proprietors Ronald Goerler, SR & Ronald Goerler, JR, have been on the Long Island wine scene since 1981. Their winery is located within a rustic 100 year old barn in Jamesport, only 20 minutes east of the Long Island Expressway. While Jamesport Vineyard's winery building lacks the glitz found at other wineries along the Long Island wine trail, they produce a respectable range of award winning varietal wines. Ron JR, oversees the vineyards and is a major proponent of the farm-to-table program.
Mlange de Trois, 2000, $30
The latest edition of Jamesport's top of the line Meritage-style blended red wine. A wonderful blend of three noble varieties of Bordeaux; 46% Cabernet Franc, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot. Aged in small French oak cooperage, producing a delicate balance of berry, floral and mint aromas.
Pair with a broiled Porterhouse, baked Ostrich or pasta Bolognese. Excellent with strong cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton.
This wine will mature and cellar well for the next ten years.
Tel. (631) 722-5256
Laurel Lake Vineyards, Laurel, NY
A sleeper in the western part of the North Fork. One of our favorite wineries for kickin 'up the feet on their expansive deck overlooking their lush vineyards. Laurel Lake is owned and managed by a group of Chilean wine professionals. They have a uniquely different winemaking style than any other producer on Long Island. This new release is only one example of this producers capabilities.
Muscato Sparkling Wine N.V, $14.99
Made from Muscat grapes grown in New York State, Laurel Lake's new Muscato Sparking wine appeals to people who seek a less dry, sweeter than Brut, sparking wine. Pair this sparkler with turkey dijon, roasted venison or baked hare. Try a drop with your favorite Chocolate indulgence.
Laurel Lake Vineyards
Tel. (631) 298-1420
Lieb Family Cellars, Mattituck, NY
Mark and Kathy Lieb are famous for producing Long Island's premium Pinot Blanc, a very dry, medium bodied white wine. A great Chardonnay alternative, Pinot Blanc is a major Alsatian grape. The Lieb's have 50 acres (Chardonnay, Merlot & Pinot Blanc) under vine in Cutchogue, all grown without the aid of herbicides.
Pinot Blanc Reserve, 2001, $16
Lieb's signature wine is a delightful and vibrant white wine. Made from grapes harvested from Lieb's (20-year old) Pinot Blanc vines. Aromas of tangerine and honeydew melon make this wine a natural companion to seafood and light fare.
Bridge Lane Chardonnay,2001 $10
The first edition of Lieb's value-priced, second label Chardonnay. Bridge Lane is the street that boarders Lieb Vineyards to the east. Bridge Lane Chardonnay is "un-oaked", aged in stainless steel tanks, yielding a fruity taste. Aromas of apples and honeydew with long finish. Try with Shrimp or Lobster.
Lieb Family Cellars
35 Cox Neck Road
Mattituck, NY 11958
Macari Vineyards, Mattituck, NY
The Macari family is earning their stripes for evolving into Long Island's most organically inclined wine producer. Their focus and commitment to their vineyard has resulted in repeatedly great wine releases. Most famous for producing Bergen Road Red a "big red" (Merit age) blend and a quick-selling summer favorite, Sauvignon Blanc, Macari has recently released three new wines.
Collina 48, White Table Wine, $9.99
The Macari's price point wines are named after the hills (Collina) nearby Route 48(Sound Ave.). The Collina 48 White Table Wine is made from the world's most popular grape, Chardonnay. This wine is food friendly and light in color tone. A light fruity taste provides a slightly sweet finish. Enjoy with seafood, poultry or cheese.
Macari Brut, Methode Champenoise, $20.99
The Macari's have created a highly respectable, Methode Champenoise made from 100% estate grown Chardonnay grapes. A non-vintage wine, this sparkler has been cellared for a minimum of 5 years. Clean and sharp taste, filled with apple and citrus flavors. A great dry sparkler suitable for celebrating life!
Block E, Desert Wine 2001, $35.99
A new limited release Ice Wine, made from grapes harvested from a select vineyard block (E) on Macari's vineyard estate. "Block E" replaces Macari "Estancia" Ice Wine. "Block E" should be chilled to temperatures just above freezing. A intense flavor driven wine with exotic aromas of lime and mandarin. Pair with fruity deserts or cheese plate.
RTE 48 & Bergen Road
Mattituck, NY 11935
Tel. (631) 298-0100
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards, Peconic, NY
Proprietor Bud Koehler is a hands-on owner who demands nothing less than the best. Osprey's focus on quality is paying off. Last year their wines were showcased as "the official wines of the US Open" in Bethpage.
Two years ago, Koehler enlisted Adam Suprenant, a highly seasoned LI winemaker, to take over the winemaking helm. Although the 2000's are his "adopted children", as 2001 was his first vintage at Ospreys, Adam oversaw blending and bottling of these new wines.
Osprey's has released two "interchangeable wines", a Chardonnay and a Merlot. Together these wines can pair well with most culinary creations.
Chardonnay, 2000, $13
A bright, oak abundant chardonnay with pear and tropical flavors. Butterscotch, vanilla and coconut flavors. Barrel fermented in small oak barrels, yielding concentrate flavors.
Pair with shellfish, poultry or mild cheese.
Merlot, 2000, $18
Mature vines, ideal micro-climate, careful attention by the vineyard master and skillful wine making has produced a classic American Merlot. Aged in French and American barrels for 14 months. Ripe cherry and plum fruit intertwined with hints of smoke. Long concentrated finish.
Pair with lamb, pork, beef or sharp cheese. For an extra treat, try a sip with chocolate.
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards
Palmer Vineyards, Aquebogue, NY
Robert J. Palmer's vineyard is located on quiet Sound Avenue in Aquebogue. The vineyard was founded in 1983 and its wines are now the most widely distributed LI wines in the US and Europe. With 90 acres under vine, Winemaker Tom Drozd focuses on producing fruit driven wines. Palmer's winery is a popular tourist destination with live music on weekends and a tasting room with original English pub dcor.
Sauvignon Blanc, 2001, $12.99
Sauvignon Blanc grows well in Long Island's Bordeaux-like micro-climate. Palmer's classic tasting Sauvignon Blanc gives New Zealand SB's a good run for their money. You will taste refreshing citrus, grapefruits and lemongrass flavors. A delicious, light alternative wine for Chardonnay fans.
Pair with raw oysters, clams on the half shell, gorgonzola vinaigrette salad with walnuts or citrus grilled chicken.
White Riesling, 2001, $12.99
If you are a fan of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, you will find this new release a pleasing alternative. This wine bears little resemblance to New York Riesling...its NOT sweet and it has a higher alcohol level(12%)than the average Riesling(7%). White Riesling is one of four different Riesling types. Palmer's White Riesling( Long Island's only) is an off-dry, fruity wine full of floral aromas. This wine was a recent Gold Medal winner at the 1st annual East End Food & Wine Awards. A great match with bay scallops, roast pork or onion tart.
Pair with raw oysters, clams on the half shell, gorgonzola vinaigrette salad with walnuts or citrus grilled chicken.
Tel. (631) 722-WINE
Pindar Vineyards, Peconic, NY
Long Island's largest wine producer continues to prove it's versatile winemaking abilities. Although a major portion of Pindar's production is wines aimed at the masses, Winemaker Mark Frisolowski makes Long Island's "biggest red" Mythology, a premium red-wine blend that has won praise by aficionados worldwide.
Cabernet Franc, 2000, $12.99
Due for release in April 2003, Pindar's "Cab Franc" is a fragrant, chocolaty wine. Aged for 18 months in European and American Oak, the wine was unfiltered to keep flavors intense. Made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes grown at Pindar's North Fork Estate.
Pair with veal, venison, beef , chocolate or robust cheese.
Tel. (631) 734-6200
Wolffer Estate, Sagaponack, NY
Proprietor Christian Wolffer and Winemaker Roman Roth produce premium European styled wine in the Hamptons. Just drive past Wolffer's vineyard, with vines in bloom and it is easy to recognize their finicky attention to their grapes. A similar micro-management is applied to all stages of winemaking (from vine to bottle) at Wolffer Estate.
If you are drinker of North Fork wines, you'll find that the sandy loom soil of the South Fork yields different flavors and acidity.
Wolffer Reserve Chardonnay, 2000, $20.00
2000 yielded a glorious harvest, resulting in a stellar vintage. Wolffer makes three levels of Chardonnay. The Reserve Chardonnay is made from the vineyards finest grapes( level one) from the harvest. Grapes were gently handled and pressed. The juice was barrel fermented in French barrels. Golden color with elegant aromas of honeysuckle, ripe peaches, and apricots with hints of toasty oak.
Serve slightly chilled. The elegant flavors will enhance all fish and white meat dishes.
Wolffer La Ferme Martin Merlot, 1999, $13.50
Grapes were separated and aged stainless steel (28%), aged in French Barrels (72%) and aged in new American Oak(10%). The overall blend is 94% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc.
Dark red in color. Balanced aromas of ripe fruits and hints of toasted oak, vanilla and baked blackberry pie. A full-bodied and elegant wine.
Serve at room temperature. Match with heavier chicken dishes, veal or red meat.
139 Sagg Road
Tel. (631) 537-5106