It’s been a year and a half since the last time we went wine tasting on the North Fork but the weather was great over the 4th of July weekend, so we decided to chance the crowds on Saturday and celebrate a sunny day with some wine.
Roanoke Vineyards—One of our favorite wineries on Long Island and my in-laws know the owner well, so it’s always a treat to visit here. Predictably, Eric tried the white flight and I went with the red flight. We both enjoyed the Provence-style ’08 rose which felt very summery, fairly dry and tropical – a good value at $16/bottle. We also picked up some of the ’07 Chardonnay, which seems consistently good here, and two bottles of the ’06 Cabernet Sauvignon (violets on nose, long finish with hints of caramel) which is drinking well even now. Since there was no rush, we took advantage of the $5 glasses of Chardonnay special and sat out on the patio overlooking the vineyards before making our way to the next vineyard. We also got to see the label of the new wine named after Gabby… it’s not released yet so we didn’t get to try it, but I’m sure it’ll be very nice.
Roanoke vineyards under a beautiful blue sky
Shinn Estate Vineyards—When we arrived, Panda, the resident border collie, was taking a power nap, but don’t let that fool you because about 10 minutes later she was playing fetch with Eric for the rest of our tasting with whatever stick she could find.
Each of us tried a variety of wine but the standouts were the ’08 “Anomaly,” a white pinot noir (nice cinnamon and cardamom with a touch of grass) and the ’06 “Wild Boar Doe” a blend of Merlot, Cab, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cab Franc (meaty with lots of spice and black pepper). I also picked up a bottle of the ’06 Estate Merlot which was toasted, smoky and smooth. We all thought the ’08 Rose was nice but liked the Roanoke version better for the same price.
the Shinn Estates tasting room, cozy but nice
Lenz Winery—Our tasting here went so well that decided to enroll in the wine club which gives us access to purchase wines from their Old Vines collection. Jeff, our host, did a lovely job of combining the Estate and Premium tastings so we could try similar wines in series to really appreciate the aging process. I would definitely recommend this type of tasting as it’s interesting to see how, for example, the ’05 White Label Chardonnay, ’06 Gold Label Chardonnay and ’05 Old Vines Chardonnay compare to one another. Another plus is that their wines are very reasonably priced and there’s a good range from $12 to $55. The winemaker likes to hold onto wines until they are drinking well, which explains why they still have an ’01 Estate Merlot available, so you’ll notice right off the bat that the reds can be enjoyed the same day you bring home the bottle.
Our favorites were the ’05 White Label Chardonnay (tropical and clean, great value at $12), ’02 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon (big with fruit splash on finish), ’05 Old Vines Chardonnay (burgundy style with pear/apple) and the ’01 Estate Selection Merlot (cherry, cocoa and caramel).
the Lenz tasting room
We ended up storing the wine we bought in my parents basement until we drive up for Christmas. Hands off mom and dad