Laurel Lake: Chile But Not Chilly November 18, 2018
The weather outside was chilly, and the winemaker is from Chile, but our welcome was quite warm when we walked into the Laurel Lake tasting room on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Our server, Maureen, recognized us from previous visits—especially the notebook—and had time to chat with us, exchanging bits of wine country gossip. She also introduced us to the charming Chilean winemaker, Juan Sepúlveda, who was pleased to discuss his wines with us.
As we stood at the bar, we noticed that behind us a large party was happily sharing a meal and some bottles of wine, and another group was out on the enclosed porch. One of those groups was a club of classic Cadillac owners, whose cars were lined up in the parking lot. Maureen told us that they also host a group of Corvette owners who come once a year, and we remembered one time when we had thought to stop in but found the parking lot filled with Corvettes. Now we knew why.
The last time we were here it was a warm day in September,and the food truck was in operation. However, the winery is coping with Southold Town’s crackdown on food trucks, so now if you want food they will order it for you from CJ’s restaurant, just down the street in the Mattituck shopping center.
A standard tasting consists of four wines for $16, and we decided to share a tasting, which means we could go back and do another tasting and have all different wines. We were, however, perfectly happy with our choices.
- 2016Pinot Gris $22.99 I smell citrus and flowers. The wine tastes fruitier than some pinot gris(a.k.a. pinot grigio), but still dry and light. It is soft and tasty enough to sip on its own.
- 2017Sauvignon Blanc $22.99
This is another light white, dry and citrusy, and, like most North Fork sauvignon blancs, would go well with oysters. We had thought to taste the gewürztraminer, but Maureen warned us that we might find it too sweet. She also mentioned that their best-selling white is the somewhat sweet riesling, which is why they keep a supply next to the cash register.
3. 2014 Merlot Estate $21.99
I feel that if there is a merlot, one should try it, since it is such a basic North Fork red. The aroma combines the expected cherry plus a touch of smokiness. This is a relatively light merlot, with tastes of cherry, prunes, and vanilla. Relatively simple, it is a good burger wine.
4. 2012Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $28.99
Aged in French oak, this had a lovely fruity aroma and taste, with a long finish and some complexity. It has enough tannins that I think you could age it a bit longer, and it could stand up to a nice steak. Very drinkable, we conclude.
5. 2013 Meritage ($59.99on the menu for the 2010)
I know, the menu says four tastes, but once again the book and our seriousness get us an extra. The Meritage is a combination of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, sangiovese, and syrah, and she pours our taste out of an unlabeled bottle because officially the wine is still in the barrel. Wow. My notes characterize the aroma as “yummy.” I taste lots of fruit, some nutmeg, and cassis. Lots of tannins. It is worth the price, especially if you keepit for a few years, but we are currently not in the market for a fancy red.
Reasons to visit: Pleasant tasting room, and lovely outdoor area in the summer; we liked all the wines, but especially the pinot gris and the cabernet sauvignon reserve; the chance to chat with the winemaker if he is around; dogs are allowed in the outdoor area; small but amusing selection of wine-related gifts.: