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.
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.