Posts Tagged With: North Fork Wines

Back to Roanoke Vineyards

Our first visit to Roanoke Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island was during Taste Camp 2009 last May when we tasted with owner/vineyard manager Richard Pisacano. (on the first visit post there is a video of Richard giving a good history of Roanoke) We had a fantastic time and used our visit to Long Island in October to revisit them and taste through the rest of their portfolio. We met up with Adam Ehmer aka @oldgrimy and he tasted us through about 7 wines including a few unreleased wines, in decanters labeled with masking tape. The experience was also paired with a nice cheeseboard and baguette. I don’t remember what cheeses they were, but the complimented the wines nicely – and helped keep the palate from getting fatigued.

….on to the wines!

2008 Rose (cab sauv, cab franc, merlot, 25% Chardonnay): lot of strawberry and watermelon on the nose with similar palate including hints of fresh hay and raspberry. Full body and crisp.

2008 Chardonnay (84% in stainless, 16% oak aged blended in): very tropical in nature, very fruity almost “sweet”. Bit of citrus in the mid-palate with hay and mineral notes leading to a clean finish.

2007 Marco Tulio (50% Cab Sauv, 50% Cab Franc, splash of Merlot – 12 months in oak): bright fruit leading off with black currant and boysenberry both on the nose and palate. Great layers of tobacco, leather and hazelnut with interesting touch of lavender towards the finish. Full bodied with rich leathery tannins.

2006 Gabby’s Cabernet Franc (92% cab franc, 8% merlot – 20 months in 50% new French oak): dark ripe fruit flavors, blackberry, black currant and baking spices dominating the nose. Similar fruit on the palate, but more red fruit coming through predominately raspberry with notes of cooked greens. Full body.

2006 “Blend One” (80% Cab Sauv, didn’t write down the rest of the blend): black fruit and earthiness on the nose. Leather, blackberry, mocha and coffee bean on the palate with an crazy note of mint chutney at the finish. Lovely flavor profile but felt a bit light/thin in the mid – palate.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (88% Cab Sauv, 9% Cab Franc, 3% Merlot): the aromatics greet you with black cherry, and boysenberry with dark chocolate interlaced. Full bodied palate with blackberry, eucalyptus and cardamom. Still young – think it will drink better down the road – huge tannins.

2007 Cabernet Franc (94% cab franc, 6% merlot): old world style, with red cherry, red currant and hints of earthy barnyard notes on the nose. More red currant on the palate with bing cherry, red clay and spice box flavors continuing through the finish. Still a baby (wasn’t released at time of sample) with huge tannins and great acid backbone – age worthy Cabernet Franc.

After tasting, Adam poured us a glass of our choice (cab franc for me) and took us on a tour of the vineyard. Sampling a few grapes here and there we walked up and down the vines, dodging the always startling blast from the bird deterring air cannons. It was the last tasting of our 2nd day in Long Island and a great finish to the day to say the least. I hope to get some of the ’07 Cabernet Franc before it runs out now that it is released but I did bring home some of my other favorites including the Gabby’s Cab Franc and the Marco Tulio. Both are resting nicely down in the cellar – I’ll try to hold on to them as long as possible, it’ll will be fun to see these guys age.

My first tasting of a Roanoke wine was at the first Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) in October ’08 at an after hours tasting of New York wines provided by Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report. After meeting Adam he let me know that I was quoted on their release flyer for the ’06 Cabernet Franc, the wine that I had tasted at the WBC.

Here’s what I thought of it —

Having only had one or two unmemorable New York wines (before) I was excited to get the opportunity to taste a good sampling from the state. Being from Virginia where Cabernet Franc does extremely well I was most eager to see how New York compared. I have to say that I was impressed with the unhampered expression of the varietal. (The winemakers) aren’t trying to make a Cabernet Sauvignon from Cabernet Franc. The one that stuck out in my radar the most was 2006 Roanoke Vineyards Cabernet Franc from Long Island. Nice bright red fruit aromas on the nose laced with a touch of wet earth followed by raspberry-cherry and the tell tale raw green pepper flavors.

As you can tell, I’ve been a fan of their wines since my first tasting and couple that with a first class tasting room experience, I will definitely return the next time I am in Long Island.

Thanks to Adam for the great time – hope to visit again soon.

Cheers!

Categories: New York Wines, winery review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2007 Nautique “Esprit de Rouge”

Nautique is a second label of Peconic Bay winery on the North Fork of Long Island, a little more value oriented brand meant for every day consumption. Currently they make a “Esprit de Rouge” and an “Esprit de Blanc”, and we picked up both during our visit to Long Island back in October.

2007 Nautique “Esprit de Rouge”

Wine Information –

Region: North Fork, Long Island

Grapes: 95% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc

Oak Program: Info not available, although based on the taste I was assume neutral or 2nd/3rd use barrels for a short time

Price: $16

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: cherry, raspberry, cola

Taste: black cherry, vanilla, licorice

Mouthfeel: medium body, with velvety but structured tannins

Finish: medium in length and fruity

Nice everyday wine that is ready to drink young, and went great with our pizza. Nothing too complex about the wine, but I believe that is how it was “built” and what it was meant to be. Lots and lots of cherry, with hints of cola and licorice to balance out the fruitiness. This wine has a decent distribution on the East Coast so if you live in NY, NJ, and CT – you should be able to find it.

Cheers!

Categories: $10-$20, New York Wines, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

From Poop to Juice

We sat in a van surrounded by large piles of poop, food waste and fish heads, while seagulls circled hungrily above. While some may see a garbage dump, others see a nutrient-rich (and highly coveted) compost pile and a key ingredient to fine wine production. We have visited many wineries and vineyards over the years, though we have never encountered such a monstrous pile of poop as that which resides on the Macari Vineyard site on the North Fork of Long Island, NY. (Don’t worry, this is nowhere near the tasting room!)

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As we rode around the vineyard property (all 500+ acres; 220 under vine) with Alexandra (“Alex”) Macari, we learned of some of the Native American heritage the land holds, and the deep rooted respect for the soil. We also learned about the Macaris’ long-term efforts to be biodynamic and organic (at least to the extent possible) to nurture healthy and vibrant grape vines. Alex pointed to a wooded lot which holds hundreds of buried cow horns, a method for making natural fertilizing teas. She pointed to a contraption in the center of the vineyard which focuses positive energy into the soil. She drove us to the bluffs which overlook the Long Island Sound at the rear of the Macari property- an important source of cleansing breezes. And as we made our way back from the vineyard to the tasting room, we passed the animal paddocks housing steer, chickens, goats, and more – important sources for their homemade fertilizer.

It is important to note that, while Macari does follow many/all of the biodymanic farming practices, they are also very sensitive to the common exploitation of those terms. Macari admits that at times conventional chemical sprays are necessary, and as a result they avoid formally (or even informally) labeling their wines as biodynamic or organic.

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After our tour around the property, Alex saddled up to the tasting bar with us and poured through their current lineup. Joining us for our tasting was one of Macari’s primary winemakers, Paula from Chile.  On the whole, we were impressed with consistent quality of the wines, not to say we loved every one, but the winemaking style was clean and unobtrusive.

On to the wines…

2008 Sauvignon Blanc – $22.99 – beautifully tropical nose, with a touch of “sweet” grapefruit on the front of the palate, followed by a bit of peach and Asian Pear. Great acid, clean finish!

2007 Estate Chardonnay – $18.99 – (stainless steel) apple, pear, hay field – beautifully round mid palate, crisp acidity with “mineral” finish. Clean and dry

2009 Early Wine – lots of green fruit, touch of sweetness which was surprising because of the bone dry finish. Appley aftertaste.

2007 Reserve Chardonnay -$22.99 – (12 mos. French Oak) hint of vanilla and baking spice, lemon custard, Asian Pear and hay. Full body, very well balanced.

2008 Rose – $14.99 – (45% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 14% Cab. Sauv, 7% Pinot Noir, 4% Malbec) bright red fruit with an interesting fresh cut hay note on the nose, with watermelon and pomegranate notes on the palate

Collina 48 Merlot – $12.99 – (3% Cab Franc) spicy with black fruit and leather notes, medium body with a soft velvety finish.

2004 Merlot Reserve – $35.99 – earthiness & black pepper, black cherry, black currant and boysenberry with hints of wet cedar. Full body, great tannins – very nice.

2007 Syrah – $34.99 – huge fruit up front, most dark with a hint of red currant shining through, black pepper, tar and graphite, all rounding out the mix. Very full body, kept expanding on the palate.

2007 Malbec – great cola and raisin on the nose, very cherry filled, but slightly “green” tasting and floral towards the finish.

2007 Dos Aguas – $26.99 – (45% Cab Sauv, 36% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc, 4% Malbec) tobacco on the nose with black fruit and mint. Red currant, green bean, pipe tobacco and blackberry on the palate. Silky but rich tannins

2004 Bergen Road – $42.99 – (42% Merlot, 29% Cab Sauv, 24% Malbec, 5% Petite Verdot) – cocoa, mint, “sweet” black fruit, tobacco leaf (raw). Beautiful acid and tannin integration.

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Alex and Joe Macari

 

After tasting we took a walk through the tank and barrel rooms with with Alex and Paula, and even saw a little fruit being pressed. Following the tour, we were honored to join Alex, and her husband Joe, and their biodynamics manager for lunch. They prepared an amazing lunch for us– a huge vegetarian spread, including a second course of pasta and a cheese course to finish it off. It was great to sit and talk with Joe and Alex and learn more about them, their family, and their wines. Thanks to them both for showing us a great time.

Cheers!

Categories: New York Wines, winery review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

A Sparkling House in Long Island?

Yes it’s true there is a sparkling house on the North Fork of Long Island. Not that making sparkling on the North Fork is odd, there are actually a lot of good Method Champenoise sparklers being made on the island. The fact that they employ a sparkling only model is the odd/brave part. We visited Sparkling Pointe about 4 hours after they opened there doors this past Sunday and were greeted by a sparkling white facility complete with a VIP room with bubble chandeliers and an elevator (it was required for code). The idea of a sparkling only winery isn’t new, many reside in California (Gloria Ferrer, Domaine Chandon) it is just a new concept for the East coast.

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We met with owners Tom and Cynthia Rosicki as they gave us the grand tour or their new facility, and tasted us on their wines. Wine maker Gilles Martin makes three different sparklers, a Brut, a Rose (Topaz Imperial), and Brut Seduction (an aged cuvee).

rosebottleshotMy Tasting Notes –

2005 Brut ($29) – baking biscuits, apple pie, sweet toast, and hazelnut. Full body, nice tight bubbles.

2005 Topaz Imperial ($33) (52% Chardonnay/48% Chardonnay) – black cherry, toast, dough, very tight bubbles. Full body with hints of strawberry and watermelon.

2000 Brut Selection ($50) – slight hints of wax on the nose with beautiful apple and pear, hints of summer hay, and toasted almonds. Creamy mid-palate, and extremely long finish.

I was super impressed with the selections but Sparkling Pointe doesn’t need my accolades as they have won many of their own. The beautiful setting and the wonderful bubbly are a great addition to the North Fork wine community, I wish Tom and Cynthia all the best in their sparkling endeavor.

Cheers!

Categories: New York Wines, winery review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment