Last weekend my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. When he suggested we go to the Long Island wineries for the weekend I of course jumped all over the idea. In my opinion there is really no better way to spend a weekend than taking in gorgeous, scenic vineyards and sampling the best wines each has to offer. We have visited the Long Island wine trail several times already as recently as May. I am a creature of habit and tend to go to the same wineries over and over. This trip I decided to mix it up and try mostly new places and hopefully find some new favorites. Only two on this trip were repeats from our last visit-Mattebella Vineyards and Lieb Cellars.
We started the day very early at Sparkling Pointe. This winery was highly recommended to us by two of my friends who know I adore bubbly. I have to admit 11:00 am may be a bit early to start a long day of drinking but it was our anniversary so it was a fitting and light way to begin our touring.
The tasting room is beautifully decorated and has a Brazilian theme.
My husband who doesn’t normally care for sparkling wines really enjoyed the tasting. Our favorites were the 2013 Brut Cuvée and the Cuvée Carnival.
Mattebella Vineyards was a repeat visit from our May trip. This is a hidden gem. We have probably driven by this winery loads of times and never even noticed it. It has a beautiful outdoor area alongside the vines with nicely arranged seating areas for groups of varying sizes.
They are known for having very good red wines so I ordered the same tasting I did last time which is accompanied by small bites to pair with each.
Our favorite wine of this tasting was the 2011 Old World Blend:
Now it was on to another highly recommended winery that we had yet to experience Pellegrini Vineyards.
My assistant has been telling me about this winery for a while and advised us to try her favorite Gewurtztraminer. My husband is a big fan of Gewurtztraminer and Pellegrini’s didn’t disappoint.
Other notable wines here were the Bordeaux style blend Encore Red 2010, the Petit Verdot, and the Rosé. If I hadn’t had so much Rosé still at home I definitely would have purchases a few bottles.
Another stop that was a repeat from May was Lieb Cellars. They have great indoor seating as well as a patio out front. I really like the vibe of this place. It’s casual and welcoming. I also really like their presentation of the tasting on the terracotta plates.
Favorites purchased between the two trips were the Reserve Cabernet Franc 2014 and the Reserve Meritage 2013 which is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petite Verdot.
Now on to the star of the day- Shinn Estate. I can’t believe that I have missed this place on previous trips. The red wines here were outstanding and some of the best I have ever had from Long Island.
Of course had I broken out of my “same old same old” habit sooner and done my research on where to go for bold reds I wouldn’t just be discovering this amazing winery.
Every red wine I tasted here I absolutely loved but the three that stood out the most were Estate Merlot 2013, Wild Boar Doe 2013, and Nine Barrels Reserve Merlot 2014. I bought two bottles of each of these to take home and I am sure I will need to make another trip out East very soon to restock. I highly recommend visiting Shinn Estate if you are planning your own Long Island wine trip.
For our second day of tasting I made a reservation at Wölffer Estate and Stables in Sagaponak.
I am very familiar with Wölffer wines and have purchased them regularly but had never had the chance to spend an afternoon there and do a tasting. I have had their Rosé Table Wine many times as well as their Summer White but was really looking to try their reds for the first time. A table on the outdoor deck overlooks the beautiful vineyard and was extremely relaxing.
I started with a tasting of four of their white label wines all named after their horses which included the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and the red blend Fatalis Fatum. The Fatalis Fatum was my favorite of the four and is a blend of 42% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petite Verdot. After that with the sun coming out and warming us up I had to end with a glass of Rosé.
Sadly the weekend had come to an end and we had to head back home but not before picking up a few bottles and some stemless wine glasses.
Every time we tour the Long Island wineries I am reminded that there are so many wonderful winemakers producing some really excellent wines and the best part is they are so close to home. Many are using sustainable practices and I love eating and drinking local whenever possible. I would like to also mention some of my other favorite haunts that I didn’t visit this time around:
The Old Field-great Merlot and The Commodore red. Also pick up some farm fresh eggs to take home.
Croteaux– the secret is unfortunately out. My favorite stop to enjoy French style Rosé in a garden that will make you feel you are at a farmhouse in Provence.
Paumanok– try the Festival Red as well as their Dry Rosé and Vin Rosé.
Love Lane Kitchen– we have dinner here anytime we do an overnight trip. Amazing food and a good wine list featuring the area’s wines in a cozy atmosphere.
The Village Cheese Shop on Love Lane- stop here to pick up cheese and other snacks to eat between wine stops.
For more information about the wineries and other stops mentioned in this blog click on names in bold for links to each.