Much like previous summers, we spent a few afternoons visiting local wineries and breweries in July.
Lenz Winery, Peconic
We’ve been members for years now, and Lenz always has some interesting wines available. This year they still had the outdoor tables, and we were able to get a shaded spot on each of our two visits.
On visit #1 our focus was tasting newly released wines. Our favorites included the 2015 Sparkling Cuvee and the stainless-steel Chardonnay (a pleasant surprise both for taste and value). We also ordered a portion of the cheddar cheese and crackers to nibble on and were quite (pleasantly) surprised by the amount!
A few weeks later we hosted our friends Shawn and Kenny who detoured on their way to the South Fork for the weekend. We tried a few additional wines plus enjoyed a full bottle of the Sparkling!
Macari Vineyards, Mattituck
For summer 2021, Macari changed things up, offering wine club members either a preset tasting of four wines or a glass of wine. We opted for glasses on the outdoor patio, with the ‘Lifeforce’ Sauvignon Blanc for me and the Sparkling Horse pétillant naturel for Leandra. Macari had recently released a Pinot Meunier Rose that we wanted to try, so since they didn’t have it available for tasting we ended up with a bottle. It was quite strong, a lovely rose, and we ended up going back later for half a case.
On a second visit we opted for a rose and cabernet franc.
Anthony Nappa Wines, Peconic
The last time we visited was December 2014, so it had been a while! That is partly due to the expense — tasting fees aren’t waived on Long Island even when you buy bottles, and at $20-$30 that definitely dampens our desire to try many places. We stopped in on a warm afternoon, and thankfully they had air conditioning and a table available for us. Altogether we tried the 2020 White Pinot Noir (which used to be called ‘Anomaly’), 2017 Riesling, 2018 Viognier, 2019 Refosco, and the 2015 Merlot Reserve (our favorite, we got a bottle).
Vintage Mattituck Wine Shop, Mattituck
Technically we didn’t taste here, but we did buy a mixed case of wines to try at home (given the cost of tastings it can actually be cheaper just to buy bottles…). We went with representatives from wineries we’ve tasted many times (Lieb, Paumanok, Wölffer) and others that were new to us (Onabay, Sparkling Pointe).
- Lieb – we preferred the 2018 Lieb Cellars Pinot Blanc Reserve Sparkling to the 2020 Lieb Cellars Pinot Blanc Estate.
- Paumanok – the 2020 Semi-Dry Riesling and 2020 Chenin Blanc were good, but the 2020 Dry Rosé was our favorite.
- Onabay – the 2019 Chardonnay Yellow Crown was a pleasant chardonnay, good value that went well with food.
- Sparkling Pointe – the 2017 Brut was overly carbonated even when deeply chilled, and just didn’t have a flavor profile that we prefer.
- Wölffer – the 2020 Estate Rosé was disappointingly weak compared to other years.
Their website made it easy to find the wines we wanted, the online prices were great, and pickup was easy – though they didn’t always have the correct vintages listed on the website.
North Fork Brewing, Riverhead
Probably our favorite brewery in the area, usually offering sours and dark beers with interesting flavor combinations. This year I enjoyed the Throw Money At It sour IPA with kiwi and lychee (nice tartness, very refreshing summer beer) and Leandra got Face Palm coconut porter. We also split a Trippel Rigged, a fairly faithful (and strong) Belgian-style.
Peconic County Brewing, Riverhead
On the new-to-us list, we stopped in on a hot Sunday afternoon. They have a lot of space, with a very sunny patio plus an even larger warehouse-like interior. I ordered the Scuttlehole, a fairly light pineapple sour, not very carbonated, but a good summer beer. Leandra ordered the Sunrise Chaiway (a disappointingly plain nitro cream ale). Curious to see what else they come up with during our next visit.