Old Field Addendum September 7, 2019

https://theoldfield.com/

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Our picnic, with cheese from Love Lane Cheese Shop and pate from 8 Hands.

“Next time, bring a picnic,” urged the very hospitable server the last time we were at Old Field.  So we took her advice, and brought some friends who were thinking of joining their wine club plus some crackers and cheese, melon with prosciutto, plus a slice of paté and some shishito peppers we picked up at 8 Hands enroute to the winery. 

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We had a lovely time and enjoyed trying two wines which had not been available the last time we were there.  Our friends loved the laid-back family atmosphere of the farm, and admired the chickens and ducks.  We strolled the grounds and looked again at the ice house.  They tried a tasting of the reds, with which they were very happy.   And yes, they joined the wine club, which meant our tastings were free.  We’ll be back!

1.        2016 Blush de Noir        $25

Perry—one of the owners—explained to us that the pinot noir grapes hadn’t met their standards for red wine, so they made them into this lovely rosé.  We quite liked it, and it went very well with the charcuterie we had brought with us.  It is a light, dry wine with just a bit of fruit.

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Just four hours on the skins means that this is a very light colored rose.

2.       2014 Cabernet Franc    $36

We liked this wine so much that we bought a bottle for the cellar.  A new release, it has nice tannins, more depth than many North Fork reds, and was just overall delicious.

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On our stroll, we noted the view of the bay just beyond the vines.

P.S.  Perry came out of the vineyard and offered us a taste of merlot grapes.  They were not quite ready to be picked, she told us.  We liked the taste of the little, thin-skinned grapes, despite the seeds.
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Not quite ready to be picked!

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Old Field Vineyards:  Counting their Chickens      August 11, 2017

http://www.theoldfield.com/

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If you want to feel as though you are really out in the country, head almost all the way to Greenport and stop into the Old Field Vineyards, through the gate, past the barn and the Port-a-Pottie, to the rustic tasting room and open porch.  Old Field is one of our favorite wineries to bring guests when the summer weather cooperates, since their porch is a charming place to sit and have a tasting as you look out onto the capacious lawn and watch children and chickens running around.  Yes, chickens—and also roosters and a rather charismatic duck—have free rein of the place during the week (on weekends, when it is more crowded, they tend to be kept in the coop), and they sometimes will wander up onto the porch, where they thought my cousin’s hat straw might have been edible.

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Off in the distance you can see the picnic tables and kids running around.

It wasn’t, but the wines were quite potable.  The menu offers several options:  Sample our Rosés (2) for $4.00, Sample our Chardonnays (2) for $6.00, Sample our Reds (4) for $12.00, or Sample our Everyday Mixed Flight (4) for $10.00.  We had just eaten many oysters in Greenport at the Little Creek Oyster Farm, so we didn’t need snacks, but this is one place where you may bring a snack, or even a picnic.  One cousin, S., wanted to try one rosé and one chardonnay, and the friendly and accommodating server told her that was no problem.  The other cousin, R., opted for the red tasting, and we chose the mixed one, so we were able to try all the wines—plus one extra which was not included!

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I hope people heed this sign.

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One rooster.

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Another rooster.

We chatted with our server about the fowl, and he noted that they actually serve a purpose, providing both pest control, as they gobble up bugs, and fertilizer for the vines.  If you go on their web site, you will see that this is not the only part of their dedication to all things natural.  The vineyard also has an interesting family history, so it is worthwhile to ask about it. We were busy chatting amongst ourselves this time, so we didn’t get into those stories.  Also note that the following descriptions of the wines are not exactly in the order in which they appear on the menu, but are rather in the order in which we tasted them.

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  1. 2014 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay      $28

This was one cousin’s first taste, and she liked it.  The aroma is butterscotch-y, but the taste is not too buttery, since it is a blend of oak and steel fermented chards.  It has some light citrus notes as well.

  1. Blush de Noir $18

Our tasting began with this rosé made from pinot noir grapes.  We all agreed it was very light, with lots of grapefruit aroma and not a lot of fruit taste, and surprisingly lemony for a rosé.  My cousin thought it could go with the pesto I had made a couple of nights ago, or seafood in a rich sauce, like scallops Alfredo.

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This chicken was quite sure my cousin’s hat was edible.

  1. 2014 Rooster Tail $20

My other cousin’s tasting started with this red, a blend of mostly merlot with a little cabernet franc.  “Nice, potable, everyday wine,” was his judgment, and we all concurred.  The aroma combines cherry and tobacco with a bit of funkiness and the taste is dry, with cherry and not a lot of fruit.  We got this one in our tasting as well.

  1. 2014 Mostly Steel Chardonnay $23

Comparing this chardonnay with the other one led to lots of conversations about oak vs. steel, and their various virtues and shortcomings.  Overall, we thought this was the preferable chard here, clean and refreshing, with some green apple taste and lots of citrus. R commented on its “up front flavor.”  S laughed that she had said the other chard smelled “woody” and this one smelled “metallic.”

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The Cacklin’ Rose is quite dark, compared to their other rose.

  1. 2014 Cacklin’ Rosé $16

Venturing on her second taste, S commented that this smelled pleasantly like “old library.”  It spends 24 hours on the skins, so is a more flavorful rosé than the other one.  We all liked it, and I noted that it tastes like macerated strawberries.

  1. 2013 Merlot $26

The server mentioned that this was made from two clones of merlot, so we asked him to explain what that meant.  They used to have two different clones of merlot, each grown in a separate field, but they discovered that one grew better than the other, so the weaker one was ripped out.  As a result, this particular mixture ends as of 2015.  Too bad, because it was quite yummy.  In fact, we bought two bottles of it.  It has lots of fruit, and S said she tasted cranberry, and we added yes, and also ripe cherries.

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I love the mis-matched table clothes on the bar.

  1. 2013 Cabernet Franc $38

We all agreed that this, from R’s tasting, was the weakest of the reds, described by R as “watery.”  It evanesces, I added, making use of my favorite word this summer.  It has an aroma of red fruits and forest floor.

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  1. 2010 Commodore Perry $38

Named for the illustrious ancestor of the current owners of the vineyard, this is a wine they only make in good years.  Cherry, tobacco, chocolate, thyme, juniper or bay leaf were some of the taste descriptors we used for this merlot.  Also, “serious legs” and “very good.”  We also learned that it was quite appropriate to name a wine for Commodore Perry, since he was known to carry wine with him on his voyages to give as gifts.

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  1. 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Speaking of gifts, after we paid for our tastings and the two bottles we bought, our cousin gave our server a very nice tip, at which point he offered did we want to taste anything else?  We looked over the menu and realized that we had tasted every wine on it (nine in all, counting Rooster Tail twice).  Ah, he said, but how about this one that is not on the tasting menu, producing a bottle of Charging Goose Sauvignon Blanc.  S, noting that she had grown up on a farm, said it smelled like straw.  We all liked this, too, and decided its lemon flavor would have gone well with those oysters we had eaten earlier.

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Charging Goose? Maybe that’s why they have chickens and ducks, but no more geese.

Reasons to visit:  you want to really feel as though you are out in the country; you want a place where you can bring a picnic and let children run around; you like chickens; the Rooster Tail, the Mostly Steel Chardonnay, the Cacklin’ Rosé, the 2013 Merlot, the Commodore Perry.

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The netting on the grapes prevents the birds from eating them.

 

The Old Field: Pleasant Day in the Country June 18, 2016

http://www.theoldfield.com/

The pretty porch at Old Field.

The pretty porch at Old Field.

“I don’t want to leave,” I complained, but our friends had somewhere to go and we had errands to run before our dinner reservation, so reluctantly I left our comfy seats on the prettily rustic porch of the Old Field Vineyards.  Old Field is a great place if you want a quiet country setting where you can see ducks and chickens and the occasional goose wander by.  You can stand at the bar covered by mismatched tablecloths or go for a picnic table under the trees.  We had opted for a nice round table at the shady end of the porch, where our friends set out the snacks they had brought so we munched as we tasted.

Our table in the shade

Our table in the shade

The tasting menu offers four options:  four whites for $9, four reds for $10, four mixed for $8, or four “Weekend Gold” selections for $10.  Both couples opted to share a white and then a red, so we could discuss our opinions as we sipped.  One improvement over the last time we were here:  tastes are now served in proper wine glasses, instead of the little plastic cups they used to use.

  1. 2014 Blush de Noir         $16

“We had an event last week,” our friends said, “and served this out on the deck.  It was great.”  I can see that, as this is a very light, crisp almost white rosé with a “slatey strawberry” smell and a touch of citrus.

  1. 2013 Mostly Steel Chardonnay $20

Although our friend thought it seemed “tame” after the Blush de Noir, I quite liked this very slightly oaked chard, with just a touch of vanilla and lots of lemon flavor.  It has just enough oak to take the edge off the sometimes too acid lemon flavor a steel chard can have.

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  1. 2013 Barrel Chardonnay $28

The menu informs us that this is a new release, and spends seven months in French oak.  You can definitely smell that vanilla aroma of an oaked chard, but this again is not overly oaked.  No one, we decided, would complain if you served this.  “It’s a people’s wine,” asserts our friend, who I begin to suspect is angling to be quoted in this review.  Though I like it, I have to agree that it has no finish, and the taste does not linger.

  1. Charging Goose Sauvignon Blanc $25

The menu had listed Cacklin’ Rosé as the last of the whites, but instead they’ve changed their selections to this new release.  That’s fine with me, since I wanted to try this one anyway, and I never think anyone’s rosés measure up to Croteaux.  We get into a rather involved discussion of the smell, which we like, and compare to hay, Meyer lemon, berries, and butter.  We also like the taste, which combines berries and a mellow citrus.  When I suggest it would go well with oysters, we start to plan for our next outing to include oysters, perhaps at Old Mill during Happy Hour or at Jamesport.

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  1. Rooster Tail $18

This is their un-dated merlot all-purpose pizza and pasta red, which we have bought by the case in the past.  It is still good, especially for the price, with plenty of cherry tastes and an aroma of blackberries.  Dry.  New glasses for the reds, by the way.

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  1. 2012 Cabernet Franc $36

We decide we like the smell of this one better than the taste.  Not that it is bad, just that it lacks the depth the delicious aroma would seem to promise.  It has lots of dark fruit taste, and we agree that if it were less expensive we would happily buy it.

Did you ever notice how many sheds and barns farms have?

Did you ever notice how many sheds and barns farms have?

  1. 2010 Merlot $26

“It blankets you with flavor and then gets out of town,” opines our friend, happy to see me writing down his words.  Well, he’s right.  After a slightly funky forest floor, peat mossy aroma, the taste is pleasantly cherry and other fruit, but has no staying power.  Again, like the other wines, this is a drinkable but not distinguished wine.

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  1. 2010 Commodore Perry                 $38

This one is more distinguished.  Named for the illustrious ancestor of the owners, they only make this wine in good years, and 2010 was pretty universally considered to have been a very good year for Long Island wines, especially the reds, as we had a nice long warm growing season.   We had bought and cellared the 2007 the last time we were here.  The smell is delicious, like “a leather tobacco pouch dipped in red wine,” says our eloquent friend.  Though it is a merlot, like the Rooster Tail, it has much more depth and interest.  You could have it with steak or lamb chops and it would stand up to those strong meat tastes.  It’s my favorite of the day.

One of the houses on the property

One of the houses on the property

Reasons to visit:  calm rustically bucolic setting with lots of trees and lawn space; the Blush de Noir and the Commodore Perry; a vineyard with a history worth learning about (check their web site) and admirable bio-dynamic methods.

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The Old Field: In Touch with History June 28, 2014

http://www.theoldfield.com/

The Old Field is a great place for photos, with lots of scenic farm buildings.

The Old Field is a great place for photos, with lots of scenic farm buildings.

Appropriately, The Old Field’s history matches its appealingly rustic look.  It can trace its roots as a farm back to the mid-1600s, when the land was bought from the Native Americans, according to its web site, and that’s not its only connection to history, about which more later.  We particularly enjoy coming here in the warm weather, when you can stand outside at the tasting bar or sit at a picnic table and enjoy the sight of ducks and chickens running around (the pair of ducks, by the way, are named Fred and Ethel, but I don’t know if their last name is Mertz), scenic old farm buildings, and the vineyards.  One of the owners is usually on hand as well, if you want to get into a deep discussion of the wines.  The overall vibe is relaxed and congenial, and we’ve often found ourselves conversing amiably with strangers as we sip.

The tasting bar, with its charmingly mismatched tablecloths.

The tasting bar, with its charmingly mismatched tablecloths.

The tasting menu offers three options:  A tasting of whites, four for $6; reds, three for $5; or a mixed group, four for $6.  They also offer wines by the glass—in which case you get an actual glass, rather than the somewhat unfortunate little plastic cup used for tastings—and the bottle, which we noted a group of picnickers enjoying.  We decide to share a white and a red, so as to sample all their wares.

The only thing we don't like here:  the plastic cups.

The only thing we don’t like here: the plastic cups.

1)       2012 Blush de Noir         $18

Our youthful and enthusiastic server informs us that this is a new release, a very light pink rosé made from pinot noir grapes.  It is so light that it looks like a white wine in the glass.  The aroma is mineral, with a touch of cut grass.  Very summery and pleasant, with only a little strawberry flavor, this is a nice summer drink I’d serve well iced.  $1 of the purchase price of every bottle sold goes to support an animal shelter.

2)      2011 Chardonnay             $20

Although this is primarily a steel-fermented chardonnay, a short time in oak gives it a bit of a vanilla aroma, along with what they describe as a “wet slate” smell.  If you’ve ever walked around Manhattan while the doormen are hosing off the warm concrete in front of their buildings you know the smell.  This is also a light wine, quite tart, with lots of lemon and grapefruit.  It would pair nicely with a tarragon chicken salad.

3)      2012 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay        $25

After six months in oak, this Chard has definite vanilla and burnt caramel aromas, and lots of pineapple taste, but is not too oaky.  Good picnic wine.

4)      2011 Cacklin’ Rosé                           $18

If you wanted to show someone how different two rosés can be, you could give them a taste of this and of the Blush de Noir, and they’d get the point right away.  Made from merlot grapes, with 24 hours on the skins, the Cacklin’ Rosé has a dark color and a distinctive smell that reminds me of cranberry juice.  Though the taste is a tad sweet for me, it is good and would make a hit as an aperitif on the porch in the summer.  I’d like it better if it had a little lemon or citrus taste.  (If you’re wondering about the name, Google Neil Diamond.)

5)      Rooster Tail                        $18

A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this is their everyday pasta and pizza wine, and it is a good member of that club, dry, with some dark fruit tastes.  Their ‘09 Cabernet Franc, by the way, has sold out.

6)      2008 Merlot                       $25

Not much aroma, berry and cinnamon tastes, fairly light for a red:  we decide the Merlot is just okay.

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7)      2007 Commodore Perry                                $40

Really?  Commodore Perry?  What’s that about?  Wasn’t he the guy who opened up trade with Japan?  And why is there a somewhat Japanese-looking sea under that ship on the label?  Here’s the other link to history I mentioned earlier.  Commodore Perry is indeed an ancestor of the family who owns the vineyard, and so they honor him by only naming their best vintages after him.  ’07 was a great year, and this Merlot shows it, with lots of flavors of dark fruit and ripe figs plus good tannins.  We buy a bottle, planning to cellar it.  We are also entertained to learn that this wine is famous in Japan, due to the name, and that Japanese tourists get very excited when they come to Old Field and see it.  In fact, one was so intrigued that he offered to design the label!

Reasons to visit:  pleasant rustic setting, with picnic tables and roaming fowl; the 2012 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay; the Cacklin’ Rosé; the ’07 Commodore Perry; the chance to hear stories about the history of the farm (including one cold winter day when we heard all about the resident ghosts).

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