Gems in My Glass . . . August 2011

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Long Island, Tasting Notes 1 Comment

Long Island Terroir Shines!

A return visit to the North Fork on Long Island this summer reinforces my opinion of the impressive quality of wines being produced in this growing wine region.  Well-crafted wines that truly capture the terroir of the North Fork, made by long time producers that I visited 7 years ago, and newly discovered producers.  This bucolic wine region boasts beautiful settings among rolling hills, picturesque farms, barns and quaint coastal towns, delicious cuisine and award winning wines; plenty for all to enjoy.

Jamesport Vineyards

This family owned estate winery encompasses 60 acres (with sustainable farming practices employed). Established in the 1980’s by Ron Goerler Sr., it continues to flourish with son Ron Goerler Jr. at the helm as Winemaker, and grandson Alex working in the vineyards and learning the ropes now, too. Among my favorites here are:

East End Series NV Cinq Blanc: This beautifully aromatic blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc is brimming full of tree ripened peach, fresh apple and citrus notes with pretty floral and spice accents. Fresh, clean and well balanced.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc: Expressive with smoky gunflint on the nose followed by layers of juicy mango, pineapple and toasted sesame seeds filling the mouth. Racy acidity offsets the ripe fruit, and the flinty notes hold firm through the pleasing finish.

2009 Riesling: Minerality and honeysuckle blossom aromas rise enticingly from the glass and flavors of fresh apricot and juicy nectarine and honeysuckle explode with brightness on the palate. Fresh and lively, finishing long with notes of wet stone and minerality.

2005 Melange de Trois: This blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc showcases violets and cassis on the nose and expands on the palate richly with blackberry, black cherry, tobacco and earthy notes melding together seamlessly. Nicely structured with firm tannins and a lingering finish.

2007 “Jubilant” Reserve: Another winning blend from Jamesport, (68% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Syrah and 2.5% Petite Verdot) this lovely wine offers earthy, forest floor aromas. Layers of green bell pepper, blueberry, wild berries, black cherries, tobacco and allspice unfold provocatively on the palate; complex and plush through the memorable finish.

Waters Crest Winery

Waters Crest is also a family run winery in the North Fork, operated by winemaker Jim Waters and his wife Linda. They select high quality fruit from local growers and Jim creates resplendent wines that capture the North Fork terroir.

2010 Campania Bianco: This is a juicy blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Riesling and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.  Floral aromas waft from the glass and lead to ripe peach, nectarine, green apple flavors with a splash of lime swirling deliciously in the mouth.   The creamy texture is nicely offset by the vibrant acidity.

2010 Dry Riesling: Minerality and flinty slate aromas please the senses and remain focused alongside fruity flavors of crisp apples and fresh melon and a hint of florality.   Clean and bright with racy acidity, and the finish lingers on and on.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc: Grassy, herbal notes pull you into the glass and layers of white grapefruit, fresh herbs and a touch of spice awaken the palate. Beautifully balanced, vibrant and full of verve with mineral notes adding complexity.

2007 Merlot: Forest floor and earthy notes reminiscent of an old world Bordeaux fill the nose seductively.   Wild berry, blueberry and cassis flavors take center stage on the palate and intertwine pleasingly with earthy, floral accents and a touch of tobacco. Spice adds lift to the remarkable finish.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon “Gran Vin”: Earthy aromas and a touch of white pepper join the currant, black plum and boysenberry fruit and a thread of bittersweet chocolate creating a luscious mouth feel and tremendous depth of flavors. Nicely textured and complex with smooth velvety tannins that complete the impressive package.

Macari Vineyards

This Mattituck winery is led by owners Joseph Macari Sr. and his wife, Katherine, and steering winery operations are Joseph Macari Jr. and his wife, Alexandra. The 500 acre property has been owned by the Macari family for almost 50 years now, and Macari Vineyards has been operating since 1995. It was a pleasure to see Kelli Urbanik again too, at her new post as winemaker at Macari.

2010 Rose: Irresistible with its dazzling hue and enticing strawberry and watermelon aromas, this blend of 71% Merlot, 14% Cab Franc, 9% Cab Sauvignon and 6% Malbec is attractively dry, fresh and juicy; very palate pleasing. Cranberry flavors add another dimension, and the acidity plays off the fruitiness delectably.

2010 Riesling: Inviting aromas of fresh herbs rise from the glass and meld with floral and citrus notes and crisp Asian pear at the core. Builds nicely on mid palate and sings with its racy acidity; finishes on a high note with mouthwatering lime zest.

2008 Dos Aguas: This 70% Merlot, 17% Cab Sauvingon, 8% Malbec, 4% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot blend is sassy and expressive with pretty smoke notes framing cassis, plum and blackberry fruit from first intoxicating sniff through the succulent lasting finish.

2007 Bergen Road: A complex, ageworthy Meritage (42% Merlot, 30% Cab Sauvignon, 21% Cab Franc, 7% Petit Verdot) showcasing dark cassis, blackberry fruit and licorice on the nose and expanding on the palate with rich cocoa and beautifully integrated oak spices  Full bodied with lovely purity and a nice backbone of tannins.

Sparkling Pointe

If you are ready for bubbles, Sparkling Pointe is clearly one outstanding choice! In 2002 Tom and Cynthia Rosicki acquired property in the North Fork, and launched their dream to make Methode Champenoise sparkling wine, and tapped internationally known and incredibly talented Gilles Martin as their winemaker.

2007 Brut: Fresh baking dough yeastiness greets the nose with this playful and lively sparkling Brut. Flavors of tree ripened pears flecked with fresh lemon-lime notes alongside pretty acidity on mid palate shine brightly and remain sparkling through the lasting finish.

2005 Blanc de Blanc: Inviting toasty yeasty aromas pull you in and keep you oh so attentive, and at first sip the savory, yeasty, citrus infused apple flavors with toasty almond accents explode like bright fireworks across the palate; dazzling! Impeccably balanced, lively, and simply irresistible.

2001 Brut Seduction: Wow, is this ever well named – alluring aromas of fresh brioche lift from the glass and tempt you wildly. As soon as it hits your lips you’re led deeply into a rich, decadent mouthful with layers of crème brulee, wild berries, caramelized nuts, marzipan and striking acidity all dancing beautifully on the palate. Gorgeous stream of tiny bubbles through the long, flavor-packed finish.

One Woman Winery

Claudia Purita grew up on her family’s farm in Calabria Italy, and continues her father’s traditions of tending to the land and its crops reaped. She takes meticulous care in the estate vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island. We were warmly welcomed into the quaint, charming tasting room by Claudia’s spirited, knowledgeable daughter, Gabriella.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc: Lychee and citrus fruit aromas please the nose, and expand delightfully on the palate with lemon grass, grapefruit and sweet lychee fruit melding nicely and presenting a round, fleshy mouth feel offset by vibrant acidity. Nice purity too, a very refreshing quaff.

2010 Rose: From 100% Merlot estate grapes, this attractive dry Rose features a nose of flowers and fresh red cherries. Juicy and full flavored on the palate with cherries, cranberries and a touch of freshly ground peppercorns, this Rose is bright and lively with zippy acidity; great as an aperitif.

2010 Gruner Veltliner: This is a stunning example of Gruner, the most widely planted grape in Austria but not found growing nearly as often in the new world. Scents of melon and a bowl full of fresh baby lettuces leap from the glass and remain focused on the palate with a yummy white pepper accent; finishes long and clean.

2008 Estate Reserve Chardonnay: Honeysuckle blossom aromas rise from the glass and broaden on the palate with delicious layers of fresh juicy apples, crème caramel, toasty oak and creamy lemon curd. Nicely textured with a good lift of acidity and a lingering finish highlighted by flinty notes and a touch of well integrated oak and vanilla.

With Irene wreaking havoc with flooding and power outages along the coastal regions of New York, there is no better time to enthusiastically support the group of talented winemakers and proprietors throughout the North Fork and South Fork of Long Island’s wine country.  Add a visit to your “to do” list now; you will be warmly welcomed and your palate delightfully pleased!