Jason’s Vineyard: No, It’s Not a Pirate Ship           June 24, 2017

http://www.jasonsvineyard.com/

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Ancient Greek ships, like the Argo, had painted on eyes to help navigate.

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The ship-shaped bar even has a mast and sail, and the ceiling is painted to look like the sky.

Anyone unfamiliar with Greek mythology could be forgiven for thinking, when they sighted the ship-shaped bar, complete with mast and furled sail, that it was supposed to resemble a pirate ship.  However, the design of the bar—and of the ship on the wine labels—is meant to evoke the great ship the Argo, which set off with its crew of heroes, led by Jason, to find the Golden Fleece.  Jason Damianos, the son of the owner of Pindar and Duck Walk, was clearly quite pleased with his namesake hero, and not only designed his bar to resemble the Argo but also named some of his wines after elements of the heroic voyage and opted to raise sheep (golden fleece, get it?) on his property.  Sadly, Jason was killed two years ago in a car accident.  However, the family has continued to own and run his vineyard and his small herd of sheep (plus at least one llama).

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The llama–and the sheep, we were told–had all recently been shorn.

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Jason’s is a fairly large facility, with an expansive outdoor covered porch where a singer was entertaining guests the day we came (but so loudly that we opted to stay inside).  The servers keep track of your tasting by giving you a pile of tokens, taking one away each time they serve a taste.  That works well for large groups, which they do welcome.  The menu offers a flight of five wines for $10.  Since they have thirteen different wines, we decided to do two tastings, one of whites and then another of reds, which we clarified with our server after a bit of discussion.  As we thoughtfully considered each wine, our server became more and more enthusiastic about helping us, pouring a couple of “extras.”  As a result, the only wines we did not try are the two rosés.

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One view of the porch.

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There were no signs about whether or not they allow outside food, so I assume they do.  They also had a small selection of cheeses and crackers in a refrigerated case.  By the way, I only have vintages for a few of the wines.  The menu doesn’t mention them and neither did our server, who whisked most bottles away before I could check.

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The winery building is quite attractive.

  1. Golden Fleece                 $18.95

Apparently, this was a wine Jason meant to be his signature one, a blend of 41% chardonnay, 24% seyval blanc, 21% Cayuga, and 9% vidal blanc.  Noting this unusual collection of grapes, we asked if any of them came from Upstate.  Yes, said our server, she thought the Cayuga did, but wasn’t sure about the rest. However, according to the winery web page the Cayuga is actually grown locally. Tasting it, we were wondering whether this would be a collection of wines we would even want to taste, as it was much too sweet for us.  The menu describes it as “crisp,” but it made me think of candied or canned pears in syrup.  The aroma had combined minerality with floral and cat pee notes, so I was hoping the wine would be more interesting than it proved to be.IMG_3926

  1. Sauvignon Blanc $24.95

I have to say that this had a rather unpleasant smell, like rotting garbage, but fortunately it tasted better than it smelled.  That’s one of the aspects of wine that fascinates me—how the smell and the taste can be so different.  Anyway, this one WAS crisp, and rather nice, dry, with tastes of lemon and mineral.  It would pair well with oysters.

  1. Pinot Blanc $34.95

We liked this one, too. The smell combined a funky, forest-floor element with a metallic scent, and the taste had lots of citrus.  I was thinking blood orange, with end notes of pineapple, and found it mouth-watering.  It would complement spicy food nicely, like maybe a shrimp fra diavolo.

  1. Chardonnay $29.95

In general, I’m not a fan of oaked chardonnays, and this one did not convert me, though it was not too heavily oaked.  As my tasting buddy said, “It’s neither here nor there.”  Aromas of vanilla and almonds, tastes of butterscotch and lemon, and a rather thin mouth feel.  Our server informed us that this was the last of the 2012 vintage, on sale for only $12.95 a bottle, or $100 a case.  A good buy, but not enough to tempt us.

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The servers use these tokens to keep track of how many tastes you get.

  1. White Riesling $27.95

What, we wondered, is a white riesling?  Aren’t all rieslings white?  Our usual server was occupied elsewhere, and the cheerful young lady who poured this one for us had no idea why this one was labeled “white.”  In any event, we dumped most of the glass, as it was unpleasantly sweet.

  1. 2006 Merlot $26.95

The servers rinse your glass with water between tastes, which is nice—except when they don’t dump out all the water.  This is a pretty typical North Fork merlot, with scents of cherry, wood, and tobacco and a taste of cherry, though with a somewhat bitter finish.

  1. 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon $12.95

The cabernet sauvignon is aged 24 months in new French oak, “unfined and unfiltered,” according to the menu.  Though the aroma is lovely, of black cherry and dark chocolate, the taste is disappointing.  My husband characterizes it as a pizza wine, though I would prefer a nice Chianti. We think it is at the end of its useful life, and so must the winery, since this is also on sale for $100 a case.

  1. 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon $25

This is our first “extra.”  Our server suggests we compare it to the 05, and is interested to see what we think of it.  Much better!  The aroma has hints of something spicy, like maybe A-1 sauce, and the wine is dry, with lots of tannins, and a taste that reminds me of a dried fruit compote.

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Hercules…and…

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Hercules! The wine is named for this cute pooch.

  1. Hercules $28.95

According to the menu, this is a unique wine, a “late harvest blend of merlot and cabernet.”  “Late harvest” would imply great ripeness and sweetness, and the label calls it a “sweet red.”  However, it is not as sweet as we were afraid it would be, and we actually liked it.  I said it was sweet on top and tart on the bottom, which I know makes no sense, but that was what I felt.  We agreed we’d love to try it with a nice piece of chocolate cake.  Hercules, by the way, is named not just for the great hero who went on the Argo (in addition to his famous twelve labors), but also for Jason Damianos’s dog.  Check out the photo…

  1. Meritage $28.95

Meritage is the North Fork’s version of Bordeaux wines, a blend in this case of merlot, cabernet, malbec, and pinot noir.  Very nice—not surprising, since Jason studied wine-making in France.  It smells pleasantly of sweet dark fruits, and tastes like cherries, other fruits, and some pepper.

  1. 2010 Malbec $28.95

As my Grandma Ruthie would say, “This one beats the bunch.”  Definitely the star of the day, this has a delicious aroma of dark fruit, plums, and chocolate and tastes quite fruity as well, while still being dry.  If we had decided to sit on the porch and listen to the singer, this is the wine I would have chosen to have in my glass.

  1. Dessert Wine $28.95

Yes, that is what it is called on the menu.  Our server offers us this “on me,” she says, having enjoyed serving people who are interested in the wine and not just in “getting drunk.”  Thanks!  At 19.5% alcohol, this is definitely an after-dinner drink, really a Port wine, with its sweetness balanced by dryness.  Quite yummy, it would be pleasant to sip this while cracking walnuts and almonds.

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Some snacks are available for purchase.

Reasons to visit:  fun to see the bar shaped like a ship; the pinot blanc and the malbec; the Hercules and the Dessert Wine are good if you’re looking for an after-dinner sweet sipper; you can see—but not feed—the sheep and the llama.

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A portrait of Jason Damianos hangs on the wall. We met him a number of years ago, before he opened the winery, at a shop on Love Lane. We got into a discussion and he told us how excited he was to open his own winery. Nice guy. We were sad to hear he had died.

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One Woman Wines and Vineyards: A One-Woman Show? August 31, 2014

http://www.onewomanwines.com/

Busses actually means kisses, but my guess is they're referring to the vehicles.

Busses actually means kisses, but my guess is they’re referring to the vehicles.

It seems One Woman has been discovered.  Last year we basically had the place to ourselves, but this year it was fairly full, including hipsters in straw fedoras stepping up to the bar in the tiny tasting barn.  Yet the youthful servers managed everyone with aplomb, including our server, a young man who kept careful track of where we were and managed to share observations on each wine while also taking care of several other groups.  (For comments on the one woman whose winery this is, see my entry from last August.)

One Woman has expanded its list of offerings, but they still have the only Grüner Veltliner around, and that alone is worth the trip.  Large signs outside warn that buses (spelled busses, which actually means kisses!) and limos are verboten, as well as groups of more than six.  They really don’t have the facilities for large groups, but if you are a small group this is a good place to taste some lovely wines.  The menu offers two tastes for $6, three for $8, or four for $10, out of a list of eight wines.  You can also sample the Reserve wines, a menu of four for $14 (or one for $4).  What does Reserve mean?  Here it means the grapes have spent about another two weeks on the vines for a fuller flavor and that the grapes have also been hand-picked one by one with a tweezer-like implement by Claudia Purita (the One Woman) herself.  We decided to share four from the regular menu plus the four Reserves.

Part of the outside area.

Part of the outside area.

  1. 2013 Grüner Veltliner                    $20

“I’ll start you off with the 2013,” says our server, “since it is the lightest of your choices.”  And he is right.  We scent a bit of honeysuckle, taste some roast pear. Tart and light. Though this is purely steel fermented, we could swear we taste oak.  Our server chuckles and says that is common.

  1. 2012 Grüner Veltliner              $20

What a difference a year makes!  I love this one!  Our server calls it “a white for red wine lovers,” and I can see why.  It is deep and full of flavor, with some toasted caramel notes.  Again, hard to believe this is all steel fermented.  This is also a great pairing to show people why the year and how the wines were handled matters.

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  1. 2012 Gewürztraminer      $23

Very floral aromas, including some lavender, introduce a rather tart gewurzt.  0% residual sugar, notes our server, who also suggests this would pair well with Thai food.  My husband compares it to sour apple candy, and I get it.

  1. 2013 Gewürztraminer      $23

“Claudia says this is the most typical Gewürztraminer she’s ever made,” says our server.  “It has 3% residual sugar.”  It is certainly sweeter than the 2012, with an aroma of thyme honey and lavender and some gooseberry tastes.  A bit too sweet for us, though not unpleasantly so.

  1. 2011 Estate Reserve Chardonnay      $32

Very oaky, which is not surprising given that it is completely oak-fermented.  We smell vanilla and those scented pine cones you can sometimes buy in the fall.  We taste a touch of citrus, but then the oak takes over.  If you like a California-style oaky chardonnay, this is for you.

The pour is about average in size.

The pour is about average in size.

  1. 2010 Estate Reserve Merlot      $48

Our first red of the tasting, the merlot is nice but not all that interesting.  A bit of forest scent, blackberry tastes, fairly soft, and the end is a bit too oaky and tart.

Dessert wine

Dessert wine

  1. 2008 Estate Reserve Merlot      $48

The smell reminds me of a cabin on a lake—that slightly damp smell of exposed wood. This has more to it than the ’10, with nice legs. The server describes the scent as smoked paprika, but I don’t get that.

  1. Estate Reserve Dessert Wine       $39

Okay, so it’s not as good as Chateau D’Yquem, but it’s pretty nice.  I would drink this with paté de foie gras any day!  Or even a chocolate mousse.  It is quite delicious, made with late harvest Gewürztraminer grapes.

The tasting barn

We decide to buy two bottles of the 2012 Grüner Veltliner.  Because at the crucial moment of the end of our tasting our server was distracted, and took a little while to get back to us, he doesn’t charge us for the tastings, a nice courtesy.

Reasons to Visit:  Long Island’s first, and possibly still only, Grüner Veltliner; tasting some nice wines in a peacefully bucolic setting; the Gewürztraminers; the dessert wine; oh, and you can buy D’Latte gelato from a little freezer case.

We've been told in the past that Claudia Purita even arranges the flowers.

We’ve been told in the past that Claudia Purita even arranges the flowers.

One Woman Winery August 5, 2013

http://www.onewomanwines.com/

Apparently, one woman is all it takes to make some terrific wines; at least, if that one woman is Claudia Purita, the woman behind One Woman Wines.  As her daughter proudly told us on a previous visit, Ms. Purita tends the vines by hand, picks the grapes, and makes the wine. The results are a pleasure to drink.  Oh, and she even picks and arranges the gorgeous bouquets of wildflowers that grace the tasting room.

Flowers in the tasting room

Flowers in the tasting room

We came to the winery this time on a breezy sunny Monday afternoon, when, until two other parties arrived, we were the only people in the tiny tasting room and on the only slightly larger deck area, where we drank our wines.  If you are in a party larger than six or in a limo, you’d better have a reservation!  The pleasant young women behind the bar were cheery and helpful, and guided us as we decided on what to pick from the menu of nine wines.  Tastings are $6 for two tastes, $8 for three, or $10 for four, plus there are three reserve wines one can try for $4 for one or $12 for all three.  Since there were four adults, we decided to share two tastings of four choices each, plus some reserves, while the two-year-old distraction ran races on the lawn. Because we were going back and forth between two tastings, the wines might not be in the absolute perfect tasting order.

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  1.  2011 One Woman Tribute                           $23

Created to mark Ms. Purita’s five-year anniversary as a winemaker, this is a blend of all their whites.  As a result, it has an unsurprisingly complicated aroma with peach and minerality dominating followed by a delicious taste that combines apricots (my favorite fruit) with a long citrusy finish.  Dry yet fruity, this is a wine one could happily sip by itself or pair with almost any food.   

2. 2012 Sauvignon Blanc                                    $25

Another goodie!  This one has a spicy aroma and flavor, with lots of lemon.  It would be great with oysters.  Very buyable.

3. 2011 Grüner Veltliner                                    $20

Hmmm…what’s that smell?  Eucalyptus!  This wine also has plenty of fruit, with a nice tartness that makes us think of gooseberries.  This is good, but…

4. 2012 Grüner Veltliner                                   $20

…the 2012 is even better.  Despite a slightly musty aroma under the eucalyptus, this is delicious, with a surprisingly sweet ending and a bit of a bubbly feeling on the tongue.  As this is the only Grüner on the North Fork, it is worth coming here just to taste it.

5. 2011 Gewürztraminer                                   $23

We smell pineapple and mango, then find the taste surprisingly dry, though with lots of tropical fruit.  This one is rather delicate, so you’d want to pair it with a dish that wouldn’t be overwhelmed by it.  Maybe scallops?

6. 2012 Gewürztraminer                                    $23

As the servers noted, the 2012s are more flavorful than the 2011s, and that holds true for both the Gewürztraminer and the Grüner.  Aromas and tastes of pineapple, and also spice and honey make this our favorite of the day, and we buy some to take home, thinking of Peconic Bay scallops on the barbecue.

7. 2012 Chardonnay                                             $20

This is our least favorite of the day, a half oaked, half steel fermented chard with some vanilla and pine sap aromas and some oak and tropical fruit flavors.

The deck

The deck

8. 2012 Rosé                                                            $19

We get the usual notes of strawberry, with perhaps, as they say, some pomegranate.  This is a dry, merlot-based rosé, with some earthiness and funkiness, though ultimately it is refreshing.

9. 2008 Estate Reserve Merlot                                        $48

Lots of aromas to this wine, including wet forest and cinnamon. We taste spice and dark fruit, and all agree that it is an excellent merlot with all sorts of interesting flavors.  This is part of the Reserve tasting, as are the next two.

10. 2010 Estate Reserve Chardonnay                              $38

Again, not a favorite.  It has that cat pee smell some wines seem to get, and is too oaky for our taste, with lots of butterscotch.

11.  2010 Dessert Wine                                                          $39

Smells like the Gewürztraminer.  It is sweet, but not just sweet, with some nice structure.

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If you are counting, you will realize we skipped one wine—the sparkling wine.  Perhaps next time we’ll try that.  Meanwhile we buy the Gewürztraminer and the Sauvignon Blanc, and as a result the tastings of the standard wines, but not the reserves, are free.  We also almost bought some gelato on sale in the tasting room, before we remembered that we had a Briermere pie for dessert.  Gelato?  Not surprising when you know that her husband owns D’Latte in Greenport.   Later that night we have Peconic Bay scallops, barbecued on skewers with plum tomatoes and zucchini, along with roasted new potatoes and corn and sautéed zucchini, and the Gewürztraminer goes perfectly with it all.

Reasons to visit:  you would like to drink some excellent white wines; you like peace and quiet among the vines (though they do have some evening events which might be livelier); you want to try Grüner Veltliner on Long Island; you like a nice dry Gewürztraminer; the Sauvignon Blanc.

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