Yes, a number of the wines here flow from a tap, and so does a selection of local beers. And if that doesn’t sound to you like a winery that is serious about its wines…it certainly felt that way to us. On the other hand, if you read the tasting notes on the reverse of the menu, it certainly seems as though someone cares about the juice of the grape. Then again, the youthful servers, while perfectly pleasant—and one of them was engagingly chatty—didn’t have much to say about the wines, needing to check some notes, for example, to tell us what percentages of various grapes went into a blend. And that seemed to suit the customers we saw just fine. Most of them appeared to be visiting Baiting Hollow as you would a convenient bar, ordering a couple of tastes or glasses to take to a table to have, perhaps, with a cheese tray.
The tasting room, situated inside what looks like an old farm house (but is mostly not, as we remember passing by as it was being built), has a small bar but quite a few tables and seating areas, and there is also an extensive outdoor patio which looks like it can accommodate a large crowd. There’s also a barn on the property where they care for rescue horses. A portion of the proceeds from certain bottles of wine helps to fund this endeavor. The place also features an array of objets for sale.
The tasting menu offers one taste for $4, three for $9, four for $11, or six for $16. There are also three more expensive wines available for $5 per taste. We decided to share one tasting of six wines, as that would enable us to sample most of their offerings. It was a wise choice, for the pour was often quite generous. We took our time, happy to be in air conditioning and out of the July heat and humidity.
- 2015 White Satin $27.99
“I love this wine,” enthused our server. “It is very like a pinot grigio.” She was right, we decided, as we sipped this dry, minerally, and refreshing white blend (of what, we don’t know). The aroma was both floral and mineral. The wine also had a trace of a salty taste. It would be fine with raw oysters or clams.
- 2013 Riesling $26.99
Though both the menu and our server described this as “off dry,” we found it a bit too sweet. Though the aroma had the honeysuckle smell riesling often has—and no cat pee!—the taste was so light that, blindfolded, I’m not sure I would identify it as a riesling. I did detect some peach flavor. The mouth feel was interesting, however, as it was rather unctuous. (We decided to skip the chardonnay, as it is oaked.)
- 2016 Pink Satin $22.99
Given the current rage for rosé, we thought we should try one of Baiting Hollow’s three rosés, and so asked our server which was the driest. She suggested Pink Satin, and it was a good choice. This could certainly be a summer sipper, “not too sweet and not too tart,” opined my husband. We then had a discussion of the aroma, which I insisted had notes of gasoline, as well as fruit and mineral. The taste made me think of macerated strawberries, and also of Croteaux 3. Good.
- 2007 Merlot $26.99
With each taste, our server offered us a clean glass if we desired, so when we switched to reds we accepted her offer. This was one of the wines with extensive notes in the tasting menu, so we were particularly interested to try it. The aroma was nice, mostly cherry and chocolate. The wine itself, however, was very simple, with slight tannins and something unpleasant at the end. Maybe a woody taste? “It might be okay with food,” opined my tasting buddy, “but nothing too overpowering.” I agreed. The menu notes that this could “bottle age for countless years.” I would say, don’t count on it.
- Mirage $27.99
This Bordeaux-style blend of 26% cabernet franc, 44% cabernet sauvignon, and 30% merlot is one of the wines the profit from which supports their horse rescue operation. As we admired it in the glass, we felt it had nice legs and a pretty color. The aroma was less promising, with only faint whiffs of cherry and tobacco. The taste was also unexceptional, though it is nicely dry, with some fruit tastes.
- 2013 Cabernet Franc $28.99
One thing we noticed was that the prices are all quite reasonable, with only a few of their premium wines over $30. This was our favorite red of the day, dry, with good tannins, and tastes of dark fruit. It would pair well with lamb chops. It also smells really good, like plums and other dark fruits. But we did feel as though it had a very short finish. “It evanesces,” I declared.
Reasons to visit: it’s the first winery you come to on Sound Avenue after you leave the Expressway, so it’s a convenient place to start or end a tasting tour; they have lots of entertainment (check the web site) and food options; beer on tap in case you’re traveling with a non-wine-drinker; reasonably priced wines; the White Satin, the Pink Satin, the Cabernet Franc; you can contribute to their horse rescue operation and possibly visit the horses. However, this is not a place to come if you are interested in serious conversations about wine!