Tag Archives: Long Island

rose wines

Five Rosé Wines to Enjoy this Summer

The summer of rosé is in full swing! It’s an international love affair, with rosé wine being made around the world from a variety of different grapes.

Try one of these AG picks tonight:

Cune RosadoCune Rosado Rioja 2013
Rioja Alta, Spain

From CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay), a family owned and operated winery founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja, this dry rosé is 100% Tempranillo. Produced using the saignée or bleeding method, the juice was removed from the grape skins and seeds after around 24 to 48 hours, resulting in a magenta-pink color. Floral aromas introduce flavors of strawberry, tart cherry and red currant.
$14, 14% alcohol by volume

Esporao Defesa RoséEsporão Vinha da Defesa Rosé 2013
Alentejo, Portugal

Established in 1973, Herdade do Esporão is a family-owned estate and winery that takes its name from the tower on the property that is thought to have been built between 1457 and 1490. This rosé is a blend of Aragonez and Syrah. The grapes underwent pneumatic pressing after a short period of skin contact. Bright pink in color with berry aromas, the wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry and Victoria plum, with a hint of mint on the refreshing finish.
$15, 13.5% alcohol by volume

Bridge Lane RoséBridge Lane Rosé 2013
North Fork of Long Island, New York

This wine comes from Lieb Cellars, founded in 1992 on Long Island’s North Fork. Lieb was the first winery on Long Island to plant Pinot Blanc, which has become their signature wine and makes up part of the blend in the Bridge Lane rosé. The 2013 wine is 63% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 8% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% Gewurztraminer. Light and easy to drink with a pretty pale pink color, the wine has flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose petal.
$18, 11.9% alcohol by volume

Cape Bleue RoséJean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé 2013
Provence, France

The grapes for this wine from the noted French winemaker come from hilly vineyards near Salon de Provence, an area influenced by the nearby Mediterranean Sea.  It is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre, and was made using the saignée method. Salmon-pink in color,  the aromatic wine will transport you to the South of France. Flavors of ripe strawberry, red cherry and rose are layered with subtle fennel and white pepper notes.
$14, 12.5% alcohol by volume

Houchart RoséDomaine Houchart Rosé 2013
Provence, France

Bought in 1890 by Aurélien Houchart, the 90 hectare estate near Aix-en-Provence and the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire has been consistently farmed since Roman times. Today it is owned by the Quiot Family and run by Geneviève Quiot, Aurélien’s great granddaughter. This Côtes de Provence rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This crowd-pleaser is pale peachy-pink in color, with delicate flavors of strawberry, loganberry and watermelon that culminate in a crisp finish.
$11, 12% alcohol by volume


More Highlights from the North Fork Wine Trail

If you’re planning a visit to the North Fork of Long Island, here are some more wineries I recommend visiting:

I found several nice white wines at Paumanok Vineyards.  It’s one of the first wineries you will encounter on Route 25 if you’re driving from western Long Island.

Paumanok is the only winery in the region to produce Chenin Blanc and they do it very well.  The 2007 Chenin Blanc ($28) has fresh notes of grapefruit, pineapple and melon with racy acidity and a clean finish.  It’s a great match for shellfish.

Paumanok’s 2007 Dry Riesling ($22) is another refreshing sip.  Bone dry, this wine has delicate aromas of green apple and white flowers.  Flavors of green apple, lime and a hint of white apricot are enhanced by a firm acidity.  I also enjoyed the 2007 Semi Dry Riesling ($22).  Semi-sweet notes of peach, apricot and honeysuckle culminate in a crisp and dry finish.  If you normally don’t drink sweet wines, try this wine as an aperitif or with fruit and light cheeses.

If you visit you may want to bring your lunch — Paumanok has a great outdoor deck overlooking the vineyards.

Macari Vineyards is one of the larger wineries on the North Fork with a variety of wines and two tasting rooms.  I visited the newer tasting room on Route 25 in Cutchogue.  It’s a bright and open space and also has an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyards.

Macari makes all the usual varietals but I really like their early and late wines.  The 2008 Early Wine ($17) is 100% Chardonnay that is harvested early, bottled just over a month later, and released a few days after that.  Picking the grapes early makes for a crisp and tart wine that’s tingling with acidity.  Flavors of lime, green apple and honeydew lead to clean finish that has just a hint of sweetness.

At the other end is the 2005 Block E Viognier ($55).  It’s a late harvest dessert wine that is sweet without being syrupy.  Deep gold in color, the wine has notes of orange blossom, sweet citrus and spice which end in a satisfying finish.

For a less expensive dessert wine try the 2005 Block E Chardonnay, which is $40 a bottle.

A huge disappointment was Bedell Cellars.  It was recommended by the staff at several other wineries, so I was looking forward to it.  The indoor and outdoor tasting rooms are certainly very nice, but the experience was ruined by the people who worked there.  The staff were unfriendly to the point of being rude.  I almost left before the end of the tasting, it was so unpleasant.  Their wines are expensive (mostly $25 and up), and none was particularly memorable.

If you’re visiting Long Island wine country on a warm and sunny day, head all the way east on Route 25 to The Old Field Vineyards.  This winery is a nice change of pace from the other sleek and modern tasting rooms.  At The Old Field Vineyards you taste wines in a covered area between two small barns and a chicken coop.  You can enjoy the wines on the small patio, or take a bottle and sit at a table closer to the vineyards.

The miles-from-the-city atmosphere is complete with a pair of best friends who roam the tasting area — a goose and a duck.  The goose is especially adventurous and will come right up to you.

The 2006 Blush de Noir ($14) is the perfect pairing for this outdoor setting.  It’s peach colored with notes of lemon and apricot, with a refreshing minerality on the finish.  Also enjoyable is the 2006 Mostly Steel Chardonnay ($17).  Ten percent of this wine is barrel fermented.  It has crisp notes of lemon, grapefruit, green apple and a dry finish.

The Old Field Vineyard’s red wines are made with Cabernet Franc or Merlot, or a mix of the two.  The Rooster Tail ($14) is easy to drink.  It’s a medium bodied blend of 91% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc with notes of black cherry, plum and spice.  My favorite of their reds is the 2005 Cabernet Franc ($30).  Flavors of blackberries and black plum mix with fig, cinnamon and a hint of black pepper.

If you like the laid back atmosphere at The Old Field Vineyard, be sure to visit Sherwood House Vineyards in Mattituck.  The tasting room (which is more like a tasting space), is only open during warm months because it is entirely outdoors.

On the hot afternoon when I visited, you couldn’t beat the 2004 Blanc de Blanc ($37).  This sparkling wine is 100% Chardonnay, made in the traditional method like Champagne.  It has toasty notes of citrus and white pear, with fine bubbles.

My favorite of Sherwood’s wines is the 2003 Merlot ($25).  It has lush flavors of plum, red currant and raspberry with subtle notes of cedar and earth.  Well structured with good tannins, this will make you a fan of Long Island wines.

No visit to the North Fork is complete without stopping by The Tasting Room in Peconic.  It hosts wines from several wineries that are too small to have their own tasting rooms.  It’s a great way to sample a variety of artisanal, limited production wines.

Go for the tasting and stay to talk wines with manager Charles Lazarou.  Architecture is his career but wine is his passion.  It was almost as fun chatting about the wines as it was to drink them.

At The Tasting Room I tried the really tasty 2007 Chardonnay from Brooklyn Oenology ($17).  It’s Burgundian in style, leaner and more fruit focused.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged for a short time in French oak.  Flavors of pineapple, peach and orange are enhanced by gentle notes of walnut and vanilla.

On the red side, I was impressed by the Comtesse Thérèse Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2003 ($25).  Deep red in color, the wine has ripe flavors of blackberries, plum, tobacco and leather.  Well balanced with velvety tannins, this Cab has a long finish.

I was also a fan of Schneider Vineyards Hermitage Clones Syrah 2005 ($25).  It has refined flavors of ripe blackberries, spice and a hint of white pepper.  Fruit and acidity are nicely balanced for a sip that is both light in the mouth and rich on the palate.

The Tasting Room is open Friday through Sunday, with a tasting menu that changes weekly.

Be sure to check out my earlier articles on Shinn Estate Vineyards and Lenz Winery.

Click here for a map of Long Island wine country.

Long Island Wine Country: Lenz Winery

After a great visit to Shinn Estate Vineyards, I was really looking forward to exploring other wineries on the North Fork of Long Island.

Next up: Lenz.  Founded in 1978, the winery has some of the oldest vines in the region.

Lenz’s tasting room is located along Route 25 in Peconic.  It resembles Shinn’s cozy barn, but on a larger scale.

The first wine I tried was the 2005 Gewürztraminer ($20).  Made in the Alsatian style, it’s nice and dry with flavors of pineapple, ginger and clove.

My favorite of their whites (and one of my favorite white wines of the day), was the 2005 White Label Chardonnay ($12).  Brilliant golden yellow in color, this wine has subtle floral aromas that are reminiscent of a Burgundian Chardonnay rather than a California Chardonnay. On the palate is a lively mix of citrus and tropical flavors.  Lemon, pineapple, banana and a hint of orange blossom are enhanced by a good acidity.  The finish is clean and refreshing.  I actually preferred this Chardonnay over the oaked Gold Label Chardonnay, which happens to cost more.  Read my full review of the 2005 White Label Chardonnay.

Lenz’s red wines are a nice introduction to Long Island reds.  More nuanced in flavor than their western counterparts, Long Island red wines display more feminine characteristics.  These wines tend to be delicate, round and smooth, rather than strong and powerful.  As a West Coast comparison, think Columbia Valley, not the Napa Valley.

The 2001 Estate Selection Merlot ($23) displays these feminine characteristics with its silky flavors of black cherry and plum.  For a less expensive version try the 2004 Merlot ($15).  It’s slightly less complex but still has warm flavors of plum, cranberry and cherry.  The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon ($15) is on the lighter side but quite nice, with notes of strawberry, cranberry and rose.

Lenz has several “old vines” wines (including the well-structured plummy 2001 Merlot), that are only available to members of their subscriber program.  Another bonus of joining the program: you can spend a weekend at the cottage on the vineyard each year for free.  I’m still mulling over the offer.

For more information about Lenz Winery visit lenzwine.com.

Long Island Wine Country: Shinn Estate Vineyards

New York is producing many exciting wines.  I confirmed this during my recent trip to the North Fork of Long Island.

It was my first time visiting Long Island wine country and my first time tasting wines from this region (though I have enjoyed several whites from the Finger Lakes).

I went into my adventure with an open mind.  I didn’t have any expectations, but I did hope to find some noteworthy wines.

I had just that experience at Shinn Estate Vineyards.

The North Fork wine trail lies along two main roads — Route 25 to the south and Route 48 to the north — with smaller roads that connect the two.  Shinn is centrally located in the town of Mattituck but is a little off the beaten path, on a small road north of Route 48.  It’s so close to the Long Island Sound that you can smell salt in the air.

Shinn Estate Vineyards has the kind of ambiance I like when I visit a winery.  Their tasting room is inside a barn that was originally built in the 1880s.  It’s small and intimate, with friendly staff who make your visit feel special.  When I walked in I was greeted by an energetic black and white dog named Panda and the music of Bob Marley playing from a small stereo.

The first wine I tried was the 2008 Anomaly ($18), a white Pinot Noir.  I was intrigued by the idea of a white Pinot Noir, though I realized I’ve had it before — in Champagne and sparkling wines (like a Blanc de Noirs).  White Pinot Noir is made by quickly removing the skins from the juice once the grapes have been pressed, so the skin don’t transfer color.

The Anomaly is so light in color that it almost looks like water; it’s a surprise when your first sip is full of red fruit flavors.  The wine has notes of white raspberry and strawberry with a long clean finish.  It goes well with chicken or fish, or on its own on an evening when it’s just too hot outside to drink red wine.

Shinn’s red wines were my favorite of all the red wines I tasted at North Fork wineries.  I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of the Non Vintage Red ($14) to take with me.  The wine is a mix of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and has bright flavors of red berries and cherries.  A hint of oak gives the wine soft tannins.  Easy to drink with a smooth finish, this is a great everyday wine.

Also impressive was the “Wild Boar Doe” ($29), a playful blend of 54% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, 13% Malbec and 12% Cabernet Franc.  Medium bodied in structure, this wine has juicy flavors of cherry and plum with black pepper and warm spice on the finish.

Had I not been on a budget, I would have loved to buy a bottle of the 2006 Cabernet Franc ($38).  Lush and full bodied, this is a delicious wine by any standard.  It could easily stand up to Cabernet Francs from California.  The wine is aged for 16 months in small French oak barrels and has ripe flavors of blackberry and black cherry, with a hint of vanilla and spice.

It was hard to leave the quaint and cozy tasting room but I knew there were other wineries to explore.  The good news is that if you find it hard to leave too, you can always book a room at their bed & breakfast.

For more information on Shinn Estate Vineyards visit shinnestatevineyards.com.