The full title is “Roanoke Vineyards Love Lane Wine Shop,” because this is not their main space. That is located in Roanoke, on Sound Avenue, and is only open to wine club members. However, the Love Lane location is open to all, and functions as both a tasting room and a place to buy wine from several wineries, including Wölffer Estates and Channing Daughters.
While we were there, someone came in wanting to buy a bottle of sparkling wine, which they did not have, so we told her about Vintage, the excellent wine store on Main Road in Mattituck.
Then a wine club member came in and walked out with a case of wine, and another wine club member, who turned out to be the owner of one of our favorite stores in Greenport, Vines & Branches, came in to deliver some bags of her truffled popcorn and stayed for a glass of wine and a chat with the server and us. Meanwhile, we were the only ones there doing a tasting, which consisted of four rather small pours for $14.
The tasting room is small but comfy, with some nice upholstered chairs around a table, a couple of seats at the bar, four other tables, and a pleasant patio in the back. We opted to stay inside, in the air conditioning, though last year, when we came with friends, we enjoyed our tasting on the patio. Love Lane is a great destination for foodies, containing on its short block two restaurants, plus Lombardi’s Italian Market and the Love Lane Cheese Shop. Just around the northern corner there’s Agora, a Greek food shop, and GoodFood, a great empanada spot, and, around the other corner, the North Fork Donut Shop. And this is our neighborhood!
1. 2018 Roanoke Vineyards Infinite Possibility $22
A blend of 70% chardonnay, 23% sauvignon blanc, and 2% gewürztraminer, this wine smells lovely, of honeysuckle and minerals. The taste is more interesting than your usual white, reminding me of gooseberries, with some minerality. It is tart, but has a sweet finish. I could see having it with a seafood in cream sauce. Lobster Newburg?
2. 2018 R. V. Rosé $22
From being a rarity to being a variety almost every winery needs to have, rosés have come a long way from the days of Mateus in a ceramic bottle. The menu describes this as a “Provence style” wine, a mixture of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, with “a splash of chardonnay.” The server explains that it spends only a few hours on the skins, which is why it is such a pale pink. The aroma is faint, with only a trace of strawberry. My tasting buddy insists it is sweet, but I contend that it is juicy. We agree it is a light rosé, and ends with tastes of minerals and salt. Though we like it, we still prefer Croteaux (which, we recently learned, has been bought by the new owners of Shinn, so we look forward to sitting in their delightful garden again).
3. 2016 R. V. Site Specific Cabernet Franc $34
If you look at the tasting menu, you’ll see that this should have been the Marco Tulio, a blend that is primarily merlot, but, as our server explained with a bit of chagrin, she accidentally opened the Cab Franc, so that is what we get to taste. She also explained the name. Roanoke only has about seven acres of vines on their own land, getting the rest of their grapes from vines they tend at various other vineyards, including some of the Mudd plots. So wines made from grapes grown exclusively on their estate are labeled “Site Specific.” Her mistake is our pleasure. This wine smells so fruity that, if I were a fruit fly, I would happily drown in it. It also tastes quite good. My husband describes it as “meaty.” I think he means hearty.
4. 2016 R. V. Theory & Practice $28
Of course, I have to ask the meaning of this name. She explains that the first time they made this wine it was 50/50 cabernet franc and petit verdot, an unusual blend, so they decided to name it after the process of making it—theory followed by practice. The current iteration is a more traditional blend, of merlot and cabernet franc plus 5% petit verdot. It has a lovely aroma, mostly of cherries from the merlot, plus other fruits. My husband notes that the “aroma is more inviting than the taste,” since it is not as luscious as one would expect. We get dark fruits, mineral, and tobacco. “It would be good with bacon,” says my husband. “You mean spaghetti carbonara?” I ask. “Sure,” he replies.
Reasons to visit: convenient location in the midst of the Love Lane foodie paradise; they carry some South Fork wines; nice little tasting room and pleasant back patio; the Infinite Possibility and the Cabernet Franc, though all the wines were pleasant.