So, what is special about Long Island? It's a relatively young wine appellation and small. Vinifera varieties were first planted here by John Wickham in the 1960s, but the first commercial wines, made from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, were produced 10 years later by the owners of Castello di Borghese: Louisa and Alex Hargrave.
Of course and due to its northerly location, at the beginning I had my doubts, but soon I discovered that these areas receive plenty of sun during the growing season, which allows most red grapes to attain full maturity. Soils here are mostly sandy loam, haven loam and silty loam, with excellent drainage. Now, if I have to describe Long Island’s wine style, I will describe them as a cool climate, meaning very focused wines, with medium to medium + bodies, crisp acidity and very nice aromatics. Note that the reds tend to be more elegant and for sure less alcoholic than wines from warmer regions.
Most wineries produce all styles of wines from whites, reds, rosés and sparkling, here is a delicious selection (thanks to Maria Calvert), that showcase their ample versatility:
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards Topaz Imperial 2019, North Fork Long Island ($44)
I love this winery’s slogan, if it’s not Sparkling what is the Pointe? This method Champenoise sparkling is a blend of 50 % Chardonnay with 34% Pinot Noir and 16% Pinot Meunier. It spends two years aging sur lie.
A refreshing and vibrant nose opens up to strawberry shortcake and ripe yellow peach notes. Pastry aromas, crisp acidity and a touch of minerality makes this a very flavorful bubbly.
Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this wine is completely fermented in stainless steel vats. Very expressive on the nose, showing a tropical bouquet of ripe pineapple and white peach, with citrusy lime on the palate. Medium bodied with lively acidity and an exotic finish.
RGNY Viognier 2020, North Fork Long Island ($35)
Made from 100 % Viognier, this full bodied white reveals notes of apricots, mango and vanilla from aging in oak. Creamy and textured with balanced acidity. 20% of this wine was aged in second hand oak for 2 months.
McCall Wines Estate Pinot Noir 2015, North Fork Long Island ($30)
Made from sustainable grown 100% Pinot Noir. This elegant light-bodied red shows aromas of red cherry, strawberry preserves, forest floor and clove. Juicy acidity is complemented very nicely by smooth and supple tannins.
Sannino Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2019, North Fork Long Island ($35)
If there’s one grape in the world that thrives in Long Island’s terroir, that is Cabernet Franc, so do explore them!. This medium bodied red meshes raspberry, savory dry herbs and pencil shaving notes. A very easy red to drink every night of the week.
Suhru Wines Shiraz 2021, North Fork Long Island ($25)
Last but not least, a blend of 77% Shiraz, 12% Teroldelgo and 11% Petit Verdot.
This almost full bodied red features blackberry and ripe plums notes with spicy black pepper and milk chocolate hints. This beauty was aged for 7 months in American oak. Savory!
Isn't it time we go local and drink some of these? If so, let me know your favorites. Until the next one! Cheers, Silvina.
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