This week was Erik’s birthday, and to celebrate we spent Friday wine tasting on the North Fork of Long Island. Now having parents in the wine world has its perks and let me tell you, yesterday was one of them! My dad set up a wonderful day for us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
We started off bright and early at 11 (it was the only way we were going to get everywhere) at Bedell Cellars on the Main Road in Cutchogue where we had a tour of their winemaking facility from their winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich. We took a look around the grounds and at the vineyard, and then started our first tasting of the day. We tried four of their wines: the 2012 First Crush White (a white blend), the 2011 Sparkling Rose (I am a sucker for sparkling), the 2011 Cabernet Franc, and the 2011 Malbec. In the small world that is the North Fork, Erik’s mom also happened to design the Bedell building and we had a good time looking around as Erik pointed out her signature elements.
We headed next to Sherwood House‘s tasting house, in Jamesport. Here we tasted the 2012 White Merlot, the 2012 Stainless Steel Chardonnay, the 2010 Chardonnay, the 2007 Cabernet Franc, the 2006 Sherwood Manor (red blend), and the 2012 Merliance. Merliance is 100% Merlot, made up of a blend of grapes from a number of different Long Island wineries, to showcase Long Island Merlot varietal. It is a very small, intimate tasting room with in a nice setting, perfect for a picnic and we decided to sit outside and have our lunch with a glass of the 2012 White Merlot which was perfect in the hello-summer weather. I am normally not a White Merlot fan but Erik and I were both impressed with this one. It was made as more of a rose than as strictly a white wine, which may have made a difference, but regardless we both really enjoyed it. I am a big red wine drinker and I also enjoyed the Sherwood Manor and the Merliance quite a bit, although even I have to admit that drinking reds in that humidity was a challenge. Speaking of which, I can’t believe how warm it has been the last few days and Friday the weather didn’t ease up at all, staying in the 90s and high 80s most of the day and there seemed to be no escape from the humidity.
The next stop on our day of tasting was just down the street (which was lucky as we were walking between these two and in that sticky heat we didn’t want to walk far) at Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue. I had not been to Paumanok since I was very young and was excited to now be old enough to try their wine, and I was impressed with everything I tasted. With the recommendations of the very nice tasting room staff we tried: the 2012 Chenin Blanc, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2012 Dry Riesling, the Minimalist Chardonnay (which was very impressive and surprising), the 2011 Dry Rose, the 2012 Dry Rose, the Assemblage (a red blend), the 2011 Cabernet Franc, and the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was here that we had our favorite wine of the day–2012 Chenin Blanc. I also enjoyed their Roses quite a bit which for me was a surprise as there are a very few number of Roses that I can say that for. We had a quick look around and each bought a bottle of the Chenin Blanc before we were picked up for our next stop. I was also pleasantly surprised to here have tasted one of the few Chardonnays that I have ever truly liked: the Minimalist. I am not a Chardonnay drinker, which may come as a surprise given the number of them we tried, but I like, especially when tasting, to try at least one everywhere I go in hopes of being surprised and here I was, for the second time in a day.
We then headed up to the North Road and over to Macari Vineyard‘s tasting room in Mattituck. We started with a short tasting of their 2012 Early White, followed by the 2008 Dos Aguas, and the 2010 Block E before heading down to the tank room for a look, where we met with Kelly Urbanik, the winemaker, who is very nice and we had a good time talking to her.
You can’t believe there is more, I know, trust me I know! Let me tell you, I was struggling a bit at this point, luckily we slowed down from here on out.
After a short walk down the road we arrived at Premium Wine Group, where I worked this past harvest. My dad showed Erik around the winery, and gave us a few tanks samples to compare. We tried a few different styles of Riesling and Chardonnay and had a good time discussing the differences. For our next and last stop we went to Lieb Cellars new Oregon Road tasting room, which none of us but my dad had been to before. Eriks’ parents and mine, as well as two friends of ours joined us for a cheese platter and tasting of the 2009 Pinot Blanc Cuvee (a sparkling wine), the 2011 Pinot Blanc (which was my favorite here), the 2011 Bridge Lane Chardonnay, and the 2011 Bridge Lane Rose. It was a very nice ending to our day of tasting.
At this point we were more than hungry and went back to Eriks’ parents house for dinner from Braun Seafood which was perfect and exactly what I wanted. It was a really nice night and we sat outside and chatted for quite a while, a while being until I had been bitten by so many mosquitos that I couldn’t stand it any longer. I am a mosquito magnet and am currently covered in bites from my knees to my toes, but it was a nice night to sit outside so it was worth it. Nothing that a little calamine lotion can’t cure! All in all it was a very North Fork filled day and we had a lovely time touring the wineries.
It was Eriks’ first time going tasting on the North Fork and I think it is safe to say that we all enjoyed his birthday. We are already talking about which wineries we want to visit on our next tasting day! It was also a nice last hurrah for me before starting my real-person-adult internship on Monday, updates on that to come soon I am sure.
If you live in NY or are visiting I highly suggest adding a day of wine tasting into your summer plans!