Posts Tagged With: Taste Camp East

Taste Camp tasting notes – Day 3: part 1 (headin’ South)

On day 3 of Taste Camp East, our group of bloggers had thinned slightly after the palate bashing during the first day and a half. But I was wolffer_blancdeblancrefreshed and excited to be heading over to the South Fork of Long Island to the Hampton’s appellation, yes THE Haaampton’s. We were making two stops on the South Fork, the first of which was Wolffer Estate Vineyard whose Estate Selection Merlots we had tasted during the first evening of Taste Camp.

After meeting Roman Roth, the wine maker for Wolffer, he offered us a glass of there 2005 Estate Sparkling Blanc de Blanc to sip on as we waited for the rest of the Taste Campers to arrive. It was a nice and refreshing sip that awakened my palate quickly.

Once we were all accounted for, we were escorted to a private room for our wine tasting with Roman.

Lets get into my tasting notes:

2005 Estate Selection Chardonnay

nose: tight, with oak and fresh cut apple

taste: Asian pear, almond, toast, butter, hint of citrus

mouthfeel: full body, round with “spicy” acidity at the back of the palate

finish: nice and long with toasty overtones

2000 Premier Cru Merlot (1.8 ton/acre, extended maceration, 21 months in new French Oak)

nose: chocolate, raspberry, black cherry

taste: green pepper, cherry, cabbage, raspberry and bacon

mouthfeel: soft and smooth but not flabby, full bodied

finish: long and fruity

wolffer_grapesofroth2002 Grapes of Roth Merlot (Bottled under Roman Roth’s name)

nose: licorice, red currant, nice “bright” fruit

taste: bacon fat, black currant, cassis, green pepper

mouthfeel: full body, velvety tannins, very smooth on the mid palate with spicy white pepper at the back of the palate

finish: long, high lighted by lingering meaty notes

2004 Premier Cru Merlot

nose: meaty, fresh wet earth, red currant, cured meat, cherry

taste: smoke, black currant, bacon fat, leather, rhubarb

mouthfeel: leathery and dusty, full big and spicy!

Finish: long and HUGE

2005 Premier Cru Merlot (Christian’s Cuvee)

nose: blackberry, boysenberry

taste: raspberry, black currant, cassis, roasted meat

mouthfeel: big and spicy with leathery tannins

finish: long and dusty

2005 Amarone (Cabernet Sauvignon)

nose: coffee, oak, fig

taste: chocolate, toffee, blackberry

mouthfeel: leathery tannins, full bodied

finish: long with black fruit and plum flavors

2007 Late Harvest Chardonnay (icewine style with 12% Viognier, 10 % Gewürztraminer, 3% Trebbiano)

nose: honeysuckle, apricot

taste: orange rind, tangerine, hazelnut, apricot

mouthfeel: intense with huge viscosity and enough acid to make it not overwhelming

finish: long rich and honey


Roman and the folks at Wolffer gave us the royal treatment, the same we had seen from our visits on the North Fork. Roman brought out the big guns for us, with these reds being in the $50 – $125 range but their Estate Selection Merlots are more in the $30 range and their La Ferme Martin line are all around the $15 price point. They were delicious though, my favorite being the 2004 Premier Cru and the 2000 Grapes of Roth. Both of which I bought and was lucky enough that Roman had a bottle of his 2000 with him as he usually doesn’t sell it from the Wolffer tasting room.. These Merlot’s showed the power and meatiness of California Syrah with the suppleness and elegance of Washington state Merlot, well at least that’s what my palate thought, and I dug it!!

Thanks again to the folks at Wolffer and to Roman Roth, it was a treat and a pleasure.


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Taste Camp tasting notes – Day 2: part 3

P5020241After leaving Paumanok Vineyards we headed over to Shinn Estates Vineyards for lunch and of course some wine tasting. Shinn Estates also doubles as a B&B and we ate in the dining room that separates the guest rooms and where the owners Barbara Shinn and David Page live. Prepared for us was a beautiful feast with quite a few vegetarian friendly items that I of course didn’t write down. But my friend and fellow Taste Camper Erika Strum put up the list of what we ate on her blog yesterday, so I snagged it.

What we ate: rocket salad with a mustard-thyme vinaigrette, peconic bay calamari, piccolini pasta with asparagus, spring onion, lemon and fire-roasted shiitake mushrooms with ramps and fregula and crescent duck breast with sea salt, pepper and apricot-mustard sauce.


To go with all this fabulous food we had 8 or so wines to pair with it all. Providing the wines were of course Shinn Estates as well as Jamesport Vineyards and Macari Vineyards. While we sipped and savored all the food and wine, wine makers from each of the estates gave us a good rundown of what they are all about, as well as their philosophies on sustainable viticulture.

shinn_SBWhat we drank:

2008 Shinn Estates Sauvignon Blanc (blended with 4% Semillion)

nose: grassy, gooseberry, lemon rind, slightly tropical

taste: lime, grass, general citrus note, touch of grapefuit

mouthfeel: clean and crisp, razor sharp acidity

finish: long and clean

2008 Macari Sauvignon Blanc

nose: “tight”, lemon, grapefruit

taste: citrus, minerality

mouthfeel: touch of effervescence, bright acidity

finish: medium in length, nice mineral note

2008 Jamesport Sauvignon Blanc

nose: tropical with apricot and guava

taste: lime, apricot

mouthfeel: softer acidity than the previous two, but still crisp

finish: short – medium in length, clean

2008 Macari Rose

nose: watermelon rind, strawberry

taste: fuji apple peel, mineral/slate

mouthfeel: slight effervescence, medium body

finish: long for a Rose

2006 Jamesport Pinot Noir (Sarah’s Hill)

nose: cedar, walnut, cherry, cassis

taste: cherry, slightly chemical, truffle and herbs

mouthfeel: medium body, beautiful acidity

finish: medium – long in length, bright red fruit flavors

2007 Shinn Estates Cabernet Franc (barrel sample, release date 2010)

nose: mushroom, red currant, raspberry and cherry

taste: hazelnut, caramel, boysenberry, clove, thyme

mouthfeel: full body, smooth and velvety with a nice hint of spiciness towards the back of the palate

finish: long with earthy mushroom and nut flavor lingering

2005 Jamesport Cabernet Franc

nose: earth, toast, black currant, fresh herbs

taste: cherry and spices

mouthfeel: slightly hot, full body with leathery tannins

2005 Shinn Estates Reserve Merlot

nose: mocha, black cherry, coconut and boysenberry

taste: cocoa, cranberry and cherry

mouthfeel: full body, big velvety tannins

finish: long and fruity

The wines are all very nice and the pairings worked out great with the delicious food. After lunch we headed out to the vineyard with David and Barbara to talk more about their vineyard practices. I wrote about it last week and put up a video here.

Next up was a trade style tasting in the Shinn barrel room with quite a few Long Island wineries including Lieb Family Cellars, Sparkling Pointe, Croteaux Vineyards, Harbes, Bouke, and the The Old Field. I was too diligent during this part of the tasting but did take a few notes here and there, and here are a couple of my highlights/legible notes!

2007 Croteaux Vineyards Merlot “3” Rose

nose: toast, vanilla, strawberry, coconut

taste: strawberry, watermelon rind, sour cherry, SLATE

mouthfeel: clean, crisp, crisp acidity

2007 Lieb Bridge Lane Chardonnay

nose: apple, “rich”, a slight bread yeast component (??)

taste: tropical, coconut, apple and pear

mouthfeel: full body, round and smooth

Thanks again to Shinn Estates for hosting us for lunch and to all the wineries that poured their wines for us. It was my pleasure.


Categories: Taste Camp, wine review, winery review | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Taste Camp tasting notes – Day 2: Part 2

After leaving Roanoke Vineyards we headed to Paumanok Vineyards for a sampling of their wines. The tasting was more casual in style than the Roanoke tasting as we milled around in the tasting room as their wines were poured for us. As the spitting commenced, and the wines were poured, each one was discussed in brief by either owner Charles Massoud or his son and now wine maker Kareem.


My Tasting Notes –

2007 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (8 months in 15% new oak)

nose: ripe tropical fruit, flinty and honey

taste: apple, Asian pear, lemon rind, almond and vanilla

mouthfeel: medium to full body, bright acidity

finish: medium in length and fruity

2007 Sauvignon Blanc

nose: tropical “sweet” fruit, citrus

taste: grapefruit, lemon, sweet pea

mouthfeel: medium body, crisp and tart

finish: short to medium in length and clean

2008 Chenin Blanc

nose: crème fraiche, apple, Asian Pear

taste: tons of citrus, tangerine, ugly fruit

mouthfeel: full body, nice acid across the back of the palate

finish: long and fruity

2005 Merlot

nose: tight nose with hints of red cherry

taste: cherry, boysenberry, brussel sprout, leather

mouthfeel: medium body, velvety tannins

finish: medium in length with mostly red fruit flavors lingering

2004 Assemblage

nose: black currant and blackberry

taste: boysenberry, blackberry, red currant

mouthfeel: very full bodied, fuzzy mouth coating tannins

finish: long and drying

2005 Tuttles Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

nose: black cherry, leather and espresso

taste: black pepper, olive, green bean, cassis

mouthfeel: full body with good acidity and big tannins

finish: long in length with a cocoa aftertaste

After tasting through the wines in the tasting room, we headed down to the barrel room to taste some of the reds from the amazing 2007 vintage.

paumanokbarrelroomBarrel Sample #1 2007 Assemblage

nose: “sweet”, ripe dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry

taste: baking spice, cardamom, vanilla and blueberry, oak

mouthfeel: full body, loads of tannins

finish: long and fruity

Barrel Sample #2 2007 Tuttles Lane Merlot

nose: dark cherry and blueberry

taste: blueberry, boysenberry, black cherry

mouthfeel: big, round and full

finish: long and tight

Barrel Sample #3 2007 Petit Verdot

nose: tight nose, hints of dark fruit and molasses

taste: almond, blackberry, leather

mouthfeel: full up front but a little thin in the middle, needs time to round itself out

finish: long, lean and leathery

The barrel tasting showed the depth of what the 2007 vintage will have to offer for Paumanok as these wines were big boys in the barrel. Barrel tasting is always a great experience especially when you can refer back to your notes down the road as you taste the wines again upon release. Although we tasted some great red wines, the high light and surprise of the day was the Chenin Blanc. This was a fabulous wine and the one that we purchased from our visit to the winery. If this is an example of how well the Chenin Blanc grape can perform in Long Island, more wine makers should be working with it.

Thanks to the Paumanok staff for a great tasting and second stop on our North Fork journey.


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Taste Camp tasting notes – Day 2: Part 1

tastecamplogoTasting began “early” on day 2 of Taste Camp as we arrived, at Roanoke Vineyards at 10:00am. Greeting us was a beautiful private tasting setup and owner/vineyard manager Richard Pisacano. Check out Richard in the video below as he introduces us to his winery and how he got into the business.

My Tasting Notes of the 5 wines we tasted…

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (20 months in barrel)(88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc)

nose: smoke, red currant, dusty

taste: cranberry, leather, dried herbs, black pepper

mouthfeel: medium – full body, leathery, spicy and good acidity

finish: long and “herby”

2005 Merlot (100% Merlot)

nose: boysenberry, cherry, baking spices, vanilla

taste: green pepper, waxy/fondant, sour cherry, hazelnut

mouthfeel: noticeable acidity, fuzzy tannins

finish: huge cherry on the finish, dusty with good duration

2004 Blend One (sold out)(43% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon)

nose: raspberry, red currant

taste: “sweet” red fruit, green bean, blueberry, mint, strawberry

mouthfeel: medium body, velvety tannins across the mid-palate turning dusty by the finish

finish: medium in length and dusty

2006 Cabernet Franc (12 months in barrel)(88% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot)

nose: dried cherries, toast and hazelnut

taste: cherry, red raspberry, red currant with hints of fresh herbs

mouthfeel: medium body, smooth and velvety

finish: medium – long in length, with hints of white pepper

2007 Marco Tulio (57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot)

nose: earth, cherry, pomegranate, toast

taste: black cherry, coffee and thyme

mouthfeel: full body and fuzzy, mouthcoating tannins

finish: long, fruity and drying

roanoke_meganOf the 5 we tasted the ’05 Merlot and the ’06 Cabernet Franc were my favorites and I am wishing I had bought a bottle of each! Guess we will HAVE to plan a trip back North sometime soon.

Thanks again to Richard and the Roanoke Vineyard staff for kicking off our Taste Camp Day 2 of tastings with a bang.


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Taste Camp East 2009 – Long Island Impressions

tastecamplogoIn case you hadn’t noticed, Anything Wine was in Long Island this past weekend for the first of hopefully many “Taste Camp East”s (2010 is tentatively planned for the Finger Lakes and 2011 in Virginia). The first annual event was dedicated to Long Island wine country and was spearheaded by New York wine guy Lenn Thompson of LennDevours. In addition to reconnecting with all of my blogger buddies and meeting some new ones, I discovered a “new” wine region, which made some great and surprising first impressions on me.

Megan and I had no idea what to expect as we made our way up the North Fork of Long Island to our hotel in Greenport. We were delightfully surprised by the cuteness of the landscape as we were suddenly surrounded by vineyards and farms. The flat, vine-dotted landscape reminded me of the Niagara Peninsula wine region which I visited a few years back.

Over the next few days I’ll be putting up some posts with individual tasting notes and some videos and pictures from the weekend’s tastings, but this post is intended to summarize my overall impressions of the region.


Camaraderie – Several times as we drove from winery to winery, Megan and I reflected on the obvious camaraderie that we felt and saw between the vintners in the region. Perhaps because of the small size of the region, the relative youth of the wine industry there, and the unique challenges that wineries face in the region, the vintners really seemed to learn from each other and to leverage others’ knowledge and experiences, successes and failures. I think this is a must in a burgeoning wine region and is something I have seen in my explorations here in Virginia as well.

Price – I am sure I will not be the only Taste Camper to mention price after this weekend’s festivities, so I will be brief. As here in Virginia, price is always a point of discussion when it comes to the QPR of LI wines, and this is something I have discussed with Lenn several times. Although I was impressed by the quality of the many of the wines I tasted, it was hard for me to warrant the many $40+ price tags that these wines garnished. That being said, I did buy several bottles, two of which were $50 and $100, and we did taste several fabulous wines that were under the $20 price point.

Long Island vs. Virginia – I am a big proponent of Virginia wines and have some favorites from the region that I think deserve accolades against some of the top wineries in the country. With that being said, I think the overall quality of what we tasted in LI was slightly higher, on average, than what I taste in Virginia. Obviously that average is slightly skewed because Lenn, I’m sure, had us taste the best of what the region had to offer. An interesting observation was that when I didn’t like a wine that I tasted this weekend, it had similar aromatic and taste faults to those that I sometimes find in Virginia wines. Specifically slightly oxidized notes, chemical/metallic aftertaste and the over use of oak, the last of which isn’t held by Virginia alone.

Passion – WOW! The LI winemakers’ extreme passion and enthusiasm for viticulture and enology was truly palpable. It was really exhilarating, and added an invaluable component to my tasting experience.

Thanks again to all the Long Island Wineries that made us feel at home, poured hundreds of wines for us, and opened my eyes to what this region has to offer. Check back soon to see all of my tasting notes and more pictures and videos from the weekend.


Categories: New York Wines, Taste Camp, wine industry issues | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Taste Camp East Kick Off

tastecamplogoLast night was the first evening of Taste Camp and it was what seemed to be a great success. The dining room at Rapheal was a beautiful setting for the great dinner and wine service sponsored by both Rapheal Winery and the Long Island Merlot Alliance.

Prior to dinner we had the opportunity to taste a slew of Merlot verticals from the various wineries that were in attendance. I think my favorite of the evening was the Wolffer Estate vertical that was highlighted (IMHO) by the 2000 vintage. Lots of blackberry and black currant on the nose, followed up by cedar, hay, raspberry and leather notes on the palate.

I will be putting up more videos of each of the winemakers that spoke at last nights dinner as I get them cleaned up and edited.


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Off to Taste Camp East 2009

tastecamplogoTonight after work Megan and I are heading out for Taste Camp East 2009 in Long Island New York. We’ll be driving half way late this evening so we don’t have to deal with the DC/Maryland traffic at 6:00 am tomorrow.

The concept of Taste Camp from Lenn Thompson:

The concept for TasteCamp is a simple one: getting enthusiastic bloggers together in a region that is new to them to taste as much wine as possible and speak to as many winemakers as possible over the course of a weekend. Most smaller, lesser-known wine regions in the world would love to get their wines in front of bloggers, but with TasteCamp, the bloggers will go to them.

So, in partnership with the Wine Bloggers Conference folks, TasteCamp was created by yours truly and a small band of fellow bloggers, including Melissa, Erika, John and Becky.

With me at the helm, it should come as no surprise that we’re doing the first one right here on Long Island, with plans to hold the event in the Finger Lakes and Virginia over the next couple of years.

I am uber excited to see my wine blogger friends that I connected with and met for the first time at the Wine Bloggers Conference last year in Santa Rosa, CA. Additionally I am really excited to taste and explore the wines from a region that doesn’t get much if any exposure in the Richmond wine market. The conference starts Friday night at Raphael Winery and will continue through midday on Sunday the 3rd. In between we will be visiting a slew of Long Island wineries as well as some tasting with the Long Island Wine Council and the Long Island Merlot Alliance.

I’ll be trying to blog and tweet as much as possible from the event so check back often for updates from Taste Camp East 2009.


Categories: Taste Camp, wine bloggers conference | Tags: , , | 6 Comments