Not too far from Boston is a wine region on the cusp of delivering some very special wines. Below we will highlight some notable Long Island wineries which are about a 5 hour trip from Boston.
Over the 2006 Columbus Day weekend we traveled to Long Island’s wine region. We found it to be full of surprises. I went there looking for new Merlots to replace the promising 2001’s that I have enjoyed in the past. Surprisingly, I found the wines that I enjoyed the most were Chardonnays. I consider myself a very tough critic of Chardonnay. I was quite impressed with the quality of the Chardonnays that I tasted during this visit.
My favorite wine was the 2005 "Reserve" Chardonnay from Corey Creek. Wow! I really liked this wine and purchased some to bring to friend’s house we were visiting for lunch. You need to be a club member to get this wine. If you are interested in buying some of this wine, I suggest you join the club soon. It was the big winner. The people at Corey Creek were very friendly and hospitable.
A newcomer for me was the Jamesport Vineyards. This was my first visit to Jamesport Vineyards but it won’t be my last. They had the most wines that made my list of notable Long Island wines. My favorite was their 2004 "Cox Lane" Chardonnay.
The Paumanok Vineyard and Comtesse Thérèse both had some very interesting wines. Paumanok had a 2004 "Assemblage" that I feel will get some positive critical acclaim. Comtesse Thérèse had two 2004 wines that I think will be winners as well. I really liked the 2004 Comtesse Thérèse "Russian Oak" Chardonnay and I got a sneak peak at the 2004 Comtesse Thérèse "Hungarian Oak" Merlot. I would get in line for these wines. They will go fast.
Another new winery for me was Peconic Bay. I stopped there because they had a sign out front saying their Merlot had just won a “Best in New York State” award. I really liked their 2004 "La Barrique" Chardonnay. It was delightful. I liked the Chardonnay much more than the Merlot which surprised me.
We concluded the trip at Macari Vineyards which is one of our favorite Long Island wineries. We first visited Macari in the fall of 2003. At that time, we really enjoyed their 2001 Merlot. This time we were more impressed by their 2004 white wines. We were particularly fond of their 2004 "Estate" Chardonnay and their 2003 "E Block" dessert wine.
Overall, I can clearly see an improvement in Long Island wines from our last visit in the fall 2003. On this visit, the white wines we tried surpassed the red wines in terms of quality. I am sure this has a lot to do with the growing seasons for 2002 and 2003 which were tough, particularly for red grapes. It is also worth noting that the 2004 red wine vintage looks promising and I look forward to trying it as it becomes available. I strongly encourage you to visit the North Fork of Long Island and enjoy their wines. The people at the wineries are very friendly. The scenery is beautiful and if you live in the Northeast, it is a great getaway weekend. If you live far away, and you are coming to the New York City area, and you want to extend your stay, visiting the Long Island wineries is a very fun and enjoyable time.
To see all of my Long Island wine reviews, see KensWineGuide.com.
Cheers – Ken and Theresa
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