Eric and I have been visiting Long Island wineries for as long as we’ve been together and we’ve seen many changes in the last ten years. While some wines have certainly increased in quality, one major negative is that all wineries now charge a pretty hefty fee to try their wine. Some places refund the tasting fee if you purchase wine, but others don’t. At least in Santa Ynez, California you get a complimentary wine glass, no such luck here in NY.
Roanoke Vineyards—By far our best experience, Rich Pisacano poured us some lovely wines, our favorites being the reserve Merlot from
2005 2004, Blend 1, and the 2006 Chardonnay. All these wines were lovely now, but would be even better after some decanting and cellar-time. The tasting fees were reasonable and happily waived after we bought two cases of wine. I would definitely recommend this winery for a pleasant tasting atmosphere of some nicely crafted wines.
Palmer Vineyards—One of the bigger wineries on Long Island, but their wines were solid. The three-flight tastes were generous, my favorite red was the Cabernet Franc. Eric liked the White Riesling best, followed closely by the Gewurztraminer. The two kids pouring the wine were personable but didn’t seem to know that much about the wines.
Martha Clara Vineyards—We really enjoyed ourselves here three years ago but along with the increase in building size came an increase in tasting fees and a decrease in quality. The pours were very tiny (they had those cut-off spouts that gave us about 1/2 oz pours) and the setting was impersonal. You have to walk through a large shop to get to the tasting room, which lets me know where their heads are. Disappointing at best. Their sparkling wines are decent.
Jamesport Vineyards—We ran into another baffling tasting fee here, there was an extra $2 charge for a shared tasting on top of the $6-$8 fee. In other words, to share the exact same pour with Eric I would be charged more. Are you kidding me? We bought the 2002 Riesling at the local wine shop which we really enjoyed but Eric had a very different opinion about the 2005. I thought the Pinot Noir was passable but the Merlot and Cab were sub-par.
Bedell Cellars Vineyards—On this visit we discovered that our favorite raspberry dessert wine will be discontinued after this batch is sold. Strangely, it is also bottled by their sister vineyard Corey Creek now. Bedell was also the only place that required we pay up front for tasting and then didn’t credit us the tasting when we bought four bottles of wine. Personally, I think if I buy $80 worth of your wine, the least you could do would be to credit me the $10 tasting fee for four small samples. This place was recommended for their ’05 Merlots which were completely sold out. Figures.