One Woman Wines and Vineyard: Happy to be Back April 29, 2017

https://www.onewomanwines.com/

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Somehow we had let more than a year elapse before our return to one of our favorite wineries, so we were delighted to come back to One Woman.  One of the servers was happy to see us back, as well, remembering that we had come before in the fall!  That personal touch is no surprise at this tiny winery, which is very much the work of one woman, Claudia Purita, who, according to her web site, is totally hands on in the vineyard and the winery.  Her devotion shows in the wines, which are all well worth seeking out.

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Some ad hoc entertainment.

Out on the porch, a large group was celebrating what seemed to be one person’s birthday, and had arrived in a huge RV.  A friend of the winery serenaded them with his guitar.  They had made a reservation, which was fortunate, because the winery is very firm about no groups larger than six without a reservation.  Our friend the server urged us to come in the summer, when they have bonfires and movies on Saturday nights.  The tasting menu offers various options, and we decided to share four tastes for $10, forgoing tastes of the chardonnays and the rosé.

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The menu offers various options.

  1. 2015 Tribute     $26

A blend of all their white grapes—chenin blanc, chardonnay, grüner veltliner, and gewürztraminer—this is a perfect warm weather wine, great for sipping chilled.  It has a flowery aroma of honeysuckle and peach, and also has some peach tastes, as well as a lovely minerality.

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  1. 2015 Grüner Veltliner    $26

At the moment, they are the only winery on Long Island with this grape, though our server told us that Macari has planted some, so they may be producing a grüner too.  It smells fruity, maybe like gooseberries.  The taste is mouthwatering, dry, with some mineral and stone.  It would be good with a rich chicken dish, like a creamy casserole.  It is steel fermented.

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  1. 2015 Gewürztraminer                  $28

Mmm.  Smells so good.  Flowers, fruits, vegetables.  Delicious!  I think this may be the best gewürztraminer on Long Island, dry yet with lots of fruit taste.  The server takes pains to point out that it only has 1% residual sugar, since some people think all the fruitiness means it is sweet.  We also taste minerals and salt.  It would be great to sip, but would also pair well with food.  Our other server notes it is perfect for Thanksgiving—so we buy two bottles just in case we have turkey some time soon.

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  1. 2013 Merlot      $38

This is aged in new French oak for 18 months, and has the typical cherry flavor of local merlots.  Light and dry, with good tannins, this might benefit from further aging.

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An aerial photo shows the extent of the vineyards.

Reasons to visit:  a bunch of excellent wines; an intimate setting off the beaten track; the Tribute, the Grüner Veltliner, the Gewürztraminer.  Because we bought two bottles of wine, our tasting was free.

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Some Suggested Wine-Tasting Itineraries November 3, 2015

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The farm stands are starting to close now, though the ones that are open are still overflowing with pumpkins, kale, eggplant, the last of the tomatoes, and more.  I have to restrain myself from buying everything.  Now that the October crowds have left—and Columbus Day Weekend is the worst time to come to the North Fork, unfortunately, what with the corn maze goers, the pumpkin and apple pickers, and the harvest wine tasters—I thought this would be a good time to discuss a few possible itineraries.

From time to time friends ask me where to go for wine tastings, so here are some summary recommendations for various situations and tastes.  I’m going assume you’re heading from west to east for all of these.  Each itinerary includes three wineries.  I don’t recommend more than that, especially for the driver, who may want to just take a sip of most and dump the rest.  All the wineries are fine about people sharing a tasting, another good way to go.  However, if you space them out and go slowly, eating snacks here and there, you should be fine.  You can get more details on any of these wineries by using the search function on my blog.

  1. A Warm Summer Day

You want to sit outside and relax with a couple of tastings, and then maybe go somewhere for dinner.   Also, you don’t want to cope with the crowds you are likely to find on a warm summer weekend.

Another view of Jamesport's expansive yard.

Another view of Jamesport’s expansive yard.

  1. A nice place to start is Jamesport Vineyards, especially if it is your first stop and it is around lunch time.  Out in the back yard there is a pizza oven and an oyster bar, both well worth trying if you have not brought your own picnic.  Though they may attract lots of people, their outdoor area is quite large, so you won’t feel crowded.  Sometimes they have music, too.   The wines I recommend are:   the Cinq Blanc, the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, the Mattituck Cabernet Franc, the Mélange de Trois, the MTK Syrah, and the Jubilant Reserve.  If you’re getting oysters, get the Sauvignon Blanc.

    The patio at Croteaux

    The patio at Croteaux

  2. Quite a bit further out on the Main Road is Croteaux Vineyards, one of our favorite places for outdoor wining. The shady garden has comfortable Adirondack chairs as well as pretty tables for groups and many nooks.  they don’t allow limos or large groups.  I would get a full tasting of all six wines, since they provide an interesting education into the various tastes of rosé—which is all they make here.  Rosé is a perfect summer wine, and Croteaux’s are our favorites.  They also have a limited menu of snacks, and the goat cheese is excellent.  Our favorite of their wines is the 314 Clone, though we like them all.

    A view of the tasting shed at One Woman

    A view of the tasting shed at One Woman

  3. One Woman Wines & Vineyard is just off Sound Avenue, a bit north and east of Croteaux. The tasting room is tiny, so it is best to go there when you can sit outside at one of the picnic tables on the little deck or stand at the outside bar.  Her whites (yes, there really is a one woman) are best, especially the Grüner Veltliner and the Gewürztraminer.   

After you leave Jamesport, you may want to stop on Love Lane in Mattituck, where you can check out the little shops and maybe stop into the Village Cheese Shop or Lombardi’s Italian Grocery to buy picnic foods or have a snack.  Or you can return there for dinner.  Love Lane Kitchen is a very popular lunch, brunch, and dinner spot, and the food is quite good.  I also recommend A Mano, across the Main Road from Love Lane, for a more upscale lunch or dinner.  Within the strip mall, Michelangelo is a reliable red sauce Italian place, with a casual pizza parlor out front and a slightly more formal dining room in the back.  Oh, and don’t ignore Magic Fountain, the ice cream store with an ever-changing roster of home-made flavors.

  1. A Cool Fall Day

The roads are mobbed, and so are all the wineries you drive past.  It’s not quite warm enough to sit outside, however, so the above choices don’t appeal to you.  Time to go off the beaten path.

Squint and you can pretend you're sitting in a piazza in Italy instead of Diliberto's.

Squint and you can pretend you’re sitting in a piazza in Italy instead of Diliberto’s.

  1. On Manor Lane you’ll find Diliberto Winery, just down the street from Woodside Farms apple orchard (which is probably a madhouse if the sun is shining).  Diliberto’s tasting room is quite cozy, painted with scenes of an Italian village in trompe l’oeil fashion, and you are likely to encounter Sal Diliberto himself.  If you’re lucky, he’ll make one of his thin crust pizzas for you.  (He used to serve them for free, but now he does charge for them.)  The wines we like the best are the 03 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2013 Tre. Get the Tre if you’re having pizza.

    Water for cleansing your palate--or your glass--at Shinn.

    Water for cleansing your palate–or your glass–at Shinn.

  2. Now you’re going to head north on Mill Lane to Oregon Road, where you’ll find Shinn Estates Vineyards.  Surrounded by farm fields, Shinn definitely has a laid-back vibe.  You may even get to pet the resident pooch.  The tasting room is rustic and intimate, so let’s hope it’s not crowded.  Our favorite wines are the First Fruit, the Pinot Blanc, and the Wild Boar Doe, and they also make sherry and eau de vie.  They sell their own snacks.Lieb inside the Oregon Road tasting room
  3. Also on Oregon Road is Lieb Cellars. They have another tasting room on Sound Avenue where they feature their lower-priced wines.  This room is rather elegant, and the last time we were there we had it to ourselves, but others may have found it by now.  However, they do not allow limos or groups, so it will probably be fine.  They have cheese boards available.  We did our last Lieb tasting at their Sound Avenue location, so I’m not sure what’s on the menu now, but we like many of their wines, especially the Reserve Cabernet Franc or, for an inexpensive everyday red, the Red Blend or white, the White Blend. 

When you are done you will be close to Southold, where you have a number of meal options.  If you felt the need for brunch or lunch in between the above choices, you could have stopped at Erik’s, on Sound Avenue, where you order at the counter and they bring you your food.  Very popular, so it may be crowded.  One of our favorite casual spots is Founder’s Tavern, where we love the home-made potato chips, the Buffalo wings, and the house burger.  If you’re looking for a fancy dinner, you can choose between North Fork Table and Inn or a newcomer we liked very much, Caci.  A bit further down the Main Road is the Port of Egypt marina, which houses two restaurants:  A Lure, which features excellent seafood, and Pepi’s, which is fairly classic Italian.  Both give you a view of the water.

  1. Kids in Tow

Now let’s imagine that you have kids with you, which we see quite frequently.  Some places actually ban children, like Diliberto’s, while others accommodate them.  Of course, you’ll probably have to split up, depending on the ages of the children, to supervise them, but at least at these places there will be something for them to do, or at least room for them to run around.

This is the room where you find live entertainment and food for sale at Martha Clara.

This is the room where you find live entertainment and food for sale at Martha Clara.

  1. Martha Clara has something for everyone. Some good wines for those who are serious, a big room with tables and chairs and an extensive food menu for those who are hungry, and animals in pens outside to entertain the children.  You can buy pellets with which to feed the animals, and children never seem to get tired of doing so.  They also often have live music in the big room.   The wines I like the best are the 2010 Northville Red, the 2010 Syrah, and the 2012 Estate Reserve Chardonnay.  They can get very crowded on busy weekends, so be forewarned.

    Harbes tasting barn

    Harbes tasting barn

  2. Agritainment, thy name is Harbes. From what started as a simple farm stand, Harbes has grown into an industry, causing traffic jams on Sound Avenue in October as crowds head for their corn mazes and pumpkin picking.  They also now have a tasting barn where you can sample their wines, and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked them.  There is plenty of room for kids to run around, but I do not recommend you spring for the entry fee to the “Barnyard Adventure,” which is neither very much of a barnyard nor much of an adventure.  However, there are a couple of farm machines kids can climb on without going into the “Adventure.”  Across the street, at Pam’s, you can all go berry picking in season.  We were last there two years ago, so the wines may have changed, but we liked the merlots and the oaked chardonnay.  And while you’re there, I also recommend you buy some of their sweet corn to take home and cook.   It’s the best on the North Fork.

    Old Field really does feel like an old farm.

    Old Field really does feel like an old farm.

  3. Almost all the way to Greenport you come to Old Field Vineyards, a rustic farm setting for the winery. Though they don’t cater to children the way Martha Clara does, they have ample outdoor space with ducks and chicks roaming around, or you can hike along the vines.  Though they do have a small indoor space, this is another spot where the outdoor area is the most comfortable.  We liked the 2012 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, the Cacklin’ Rosé, and the ’07 Commodore Perry.

    The carousel

    The carousel

By now you’re surely ready for an early dinner, and, conveniently, you’re near Greenport.  It is fun to wander around the town, poking into the various antique and boutique shops, but with kids along you should head for the waterfront, where they can walk along the wharf and look at the ships, watch the ferry heading to Shelter Island, and—best of all—ride the carousel.  Even bigger kids like it when they sit on the outer ring of horses and try to grab the brass ring for a free ride.  There are plenty of restaurants in Greenport, but not all are good with kids.  First and South, on a back street, is great, especially in warm weather when you can sit outdoors.  Salamander’s General Store is informal, and has crispy fried chicken.  If you’re in town for lunch, the Coronet is perfect, an old-fashioned diner with huge portions.  Or you can drive a little further down the road and go to the Hellenic Snack Bar, a large Greek restaurant with lots of outdoor seating.  The dips alone are worth the trip.  Mmm…hummus…

  1. Talk to the Owner

One of my favorite things to do when we go wine tasting is chat with the owner of a winery.  You can learn so much about wine and about how the specific wines you’re tasting were made that it makes the whole experience of wine tasting that much richer.  Diliberto’s is one of those places, so do keep that in mind as well, but here are three others where you’re probably guaranteed to chat with the owner, his or her spouse, or a very dedicated member of the wine-making team.

Adam Suprenant in action

Adam Suprenant in action

  1. We’ve had lots of fun chatting with Adam Suprenant, the owner of Coffee Pot Cellars, who actually figured out who I was and that I write this blog. He and his wife Laura Klahre, who is a beekeeper and has plenty of interest to tell you about bees and honey, have always been behind the bar, sharing their enthusiasm for their products.  We like all of his wines,  but especially the Sauvignon Blanc, the 2013 Chardonnay, the Beasley’s Blend and the Meritage.

    Mr. Tobin entertaining a group.

    Mr. Tobin entertaining a group.

  2. Just a little further down the road, and look carefully or you may miss the turn-off, is Mattebella Vineyards where you have a good chance of talking with the owners—or even their children, for whom the winery is named. They have a lovely outdoor seating area, and serve a few little tastes of food to go with particular wines.  Mr. and Mrs. Tobin, the owners, are generally there, and love to engage customers in conversation about their wines, though they now have a few helpers, so you may not get to talk to them if it is busy.  We really liked the 2010 chardonnay, the 2012 Reserve Chardonnay, the 2014 Sparkling Rosé for a fun party drink, the Famiglia Red, and the 2010 Old World Blend.

    Regan Meader explaining his wines.

    Regan Meader explaining his wines.

  3. You’ll need your GPS to find Southold Farm + Cellar off on a back street, and, due to some permitting issues with the town of Southold you should check to be sure they are open, but once you get there you’ll find it is well worth the trouble. Regan Meader is the owner and winemaker, and he is also a charming and engaging purveyor of his own wines.  We enjoyed chatting with him, particularly about how he came up with the poetic and original names for his wines.  The tasting room is rustic but comfortable.  I suggest you try all his wines, from Tilting at Windmills to Flying and Falling.

Well, here you are, near Greenport again, but this time sans children.  To continue our artisan-ish theme, you might want to go to 1943 Pizza, where you can watch up close and personal as they shove your thin-crust pizza into the oven.  I don’t know if you’ll find him hanging around, but Noah’s has good small plates from which to make a delicious meal.  If you just want coffee and a snack, you should stop in to Aldo’s, where Aldo roasts his own coffee and may be your barista.  He outlasted a Starbuck’s that opened across the street.  Ha. Two other excellent, though pricier, options in town are Scrimshaw, on the dock (ask to sit outside if the weather is right), and The Frisky Oyster.  We haven’t tried American Beech yet, but it looks good.

That’s it for now, but I have other scenarios in mind!

One Woman Winery: Big on Dry Whites September 6, 2015

http://www.onewomanwines.com/

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“Don’t you have any sweet wines?” the couple next to us in the tiny tasting shed asked, then left, disappointed.  Too bad for them, since if they had stayed they could have tasted some of the most interesting whites on the North Fork.  Actually, One Woman has had a dessert wine in the past, but they are all sold out.   Meanwhile we enjoyed our tasting, overseen by the same young man who waited on us last year, who not only remembered us, but remembered that we had bought some of the Grüner Veltliner!  Very impressive, both his memory and the wine.

One Woman is the labor of love of one woman, Claudia Purita, and it shows in the quality of the wines, all made from estate-grown grapes and bottled themselves.  The menu offers a choice of any two tastes for $6, three for $8, or four for $10, plus $4 each for the reserve wines.  As we hesitate over which to choose, our server suggests we could share one tasting of all the wines for $20, so we decide to do that.  Good choice.

This shot encompasses most of the tasting room.

This shot encompasses most of the tasting room.

The tasting room is tiny, augmented in warm weather by outdoor picnic tables and an outside bar area served through a rear window, so this is not a place to go with a group.  In fact, if you come with more than six people without a reservation they may turn you away.  We noticed some sandwiches for sale, as well as D’Latte gelato (made by Ms. Purita’s husband, and excellent), but not much else.  The focus here is on the wine.

The gelato freezer

The gelato freezer

  1. 2014 One Woman Rosé                                $22

As usual, we compare this rosé with Croteaux’s, and find it compares favorably, though perhaps it is less complex than their 314.  We smell roses and strawberries, taste red grapefruit and a touch of lemon at the end, with perhaps a hint of strawberry.  Nicely dry.

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  1. 2014 One Woman Sauvignon Blanc $25

Stainless steel fermented, this has an aroma of tangelos, with some sweet fruity tastes yet a dry, lemony finish.  It would be perfect with oysters or clams, like the steamed clams with sausage I had the other night at Pepi’s.

  1. 2014 One Woman Tribute $23

What’s the story behind the name?  Originally this blend of equal amounts of all their white grapes—sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer, chardonnay, and grüner veltliner—was produced to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the winery, and also as a tribute to Ms. Purita’s father, Domenico, who had inspired her to work on the land.  Then it was so popular they decided to add it to the regular line-up.  We inhale all sorts of aromas—gooseberry, Chuckles lemon candy, and more—and the taste is equally interesting and complex, with plenty of fruit but also dry.  I could see this with some grilled bluefish fillets.

Our two favorite wines!

Our two favorite wines!

  1. 2014 One Woman Grüner Veltliner $22

Though there is a rumor that another winery may be planning to offer a grüner, at the moment One Woman is the only place on the North Fork to grow this delicious grape.  Our server comments that one might compare it with a viognier.  We loved it last year, and still do.  Aromas of fresh hay, warm and grassy, then a taste of crisp tart melon, with perhaps some lime at the end.  I could see sipping this on the porch, with some Catapano goat cheese or all by itself.

  1. 2014 One Woman Gewürztraminer $25

What a different aroma this one has from the other whites, we comment:  pine, forest floor, lavender.  The taste is complex, with notes of lychee plus some nice minerality, the sweet fruit balanced by the minerality.  We like it, but we could see how some people might not, and our server confirms that this is a wine one either “loves or hates.”  It would be great with Indian or Thai food, suggests our server, and we agree.

  1. 2013 One Woman Chardonnay $25

This “crowd pleaser” is fermented partly in steel and partly in new French oak, so it is not too oaky.  With its aromas of butterscotch and vanilla it is a typical lightly oaked chard.

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  1. 2012 One Woman Reserve Grüner Veltliner $32

So interesting to see what happens when two different grapes get a similar treatment.  Since this was also aged in French oak, you do get the butterscotch-vanilla scent, but the taste is different, with lots of citrus and mineral as well as the more melon-y tastes.  Really good.  This one is not usually in the tasting, we are told, but has been opened specially for Labor Day. Lucky us.

  1. 2011 One Woman Reserve Chardonnay                 $35

Buttered popcorn may or may not be a “wine word,” but that’s what we think of when we smell this one.  Although it spends 18 months in French oak, it is not too oaky, with complex tastes of citrus and butterscotch.  The aroma is a touch funky and sweet, but the taste is just delicious.  “It should get a prize,” opines my husband.

Assessing the merlot

Assessing the merlot

  1. 2012 One Woman Merlot $28

This is a fairly typical North Fork merlot, with spice and mineral aromas and plum tastes.  We note again that the barnyard odor so many of the reds used to have is no longer around.  I wonder why.

  1. 2008 One Woman Reserve Merlot $48

Though this merlot could not compete with a great red, it is quite good, and smells really nice, with some scents of chocolate.  “It’s at its peak right now,” opines our server.  He may be right.

Reasons to visit:  Cute little tasting shed; a bit off the beaten path, though it has gotten more popular in the last couple of years; all the whites, but especially the grüner veltliner and the gewürztraminer, of which we bought a bottle each; D’Latte gelato (which you can also get in Greenport).

The flower or twig decorations change every time we come.

The flower or twig decorations change every time we come.

A view of the tasting shed

A view of the tasting shed

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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.

Ten Venues for Outdoor Wining

Memorial Day Weekend means summer really is beginning, so I thought this would be the right time to tell you about my favorite places for outdoor sipping on the North Fork.  There is something very civilized about sitting in the sun (or under an umbrella), sipping a lovely chilled white or rosé, or even a well-rounded red, enjoying the warm breezes, possibly snacking on some bread and cheese.  If that experience includes a pretty view over farm fields and vineyards, so much the better.

Almost all of the tasting rooms augment their indoor seating with outdoor areas in the summer, from Jamesport’s capacious lawn to Waters Crest’s two umbrella tables in the parking lot, but some are pleasanter than others.  Following this you will find a list of my favorites, starting with a few I particularly enjoy, and then others in no real order.  I also mention a wine or two I particularly recommend for sipping, but in a few cases it has been a year or more since I went there, so you may not find the same vintages on offer.  Note that some places encourage you to bring your own picnic, while others discourage or forbid it, so I suggest you check the web sites before you go.  The ones which don’t allow you to bring your own snacks generally sell their own.  If you’re putting together a bread and cheese picnic, you won’t do better than Love Lane Cheese Shop in Mattituck, which carries a wide variety of excellent cheeses and baguettes from Tom Cat bakery.  Stop at Harbes for some berries or Wickham for peaches and you’re set.

Shady nook at Croteaux.

Shady nook at Croteaux.

1)       Croteaux

This is absolutely my favorite outdoor tasting area, plus all the wines are perfect for summer sipping.  You go through the tiny tasting room into a tree and flower-filled patio area, with comfortable Adirondack chairs and shady nooks.  Two of my favorite rosés are the Merlot 314 and the Violet, but any of them would work.  I also recommend their snack of goat cheese and baguette.

Adirondack chairs, with their wide arms, are perfect for tastings in Croteaux's yard.

Adirondack chairs, with their wide arms, are perfect for tastings in Croteaux’s yard.

2)      Old Field

If you like a rustic setting, this is the place!  Calico cloths on the tables plus chickens and ducks roaming around the old barns on the property really make you feel you are far from city life.  Though I don’t think any Long Island rosés are better than Croteaux’s, the Cacklin Rosé 09 (probably will be a new vintage by now) was lovely.

3)      Mattebella

Picnic tables and umbrella-shaded tables dot an expansive patio area looking out over the grape vines.  We liked the ‘08 Chardonnay and the ‘08 Old World Blend.  The last time we were there, small snacks accompanied some of the wines on the tasting menu.

Part of the lawn at Jamesport.

Part of the lawn at Jamesport.

4)      Jamesport

Jamesport is the perfect place to come if your group includes children who would like some space to roam around, or even dogs (as long as they are on the leash).  Their large backyard lawn, with a variety of seating or picnic areas, some in shade and others in the sun, is perfect, and they sell thin crust pizzas made in an outdoor stone oven and freshly opened oysters, among other treats.  Their Sauvignon Blanc goes particularly well with oysters.

Some red tastings plus a view of the vineyard at Pellegrini.

Some red tastings plus a view of the vineyard at Pellegrini.

5)      Pellegrini

Here the outdoor seating varies from pleasant spots out on the lawn or the interior courtyard to a few tables overlooking the vineyard.  What makes this a good place for an outdoor tasting (rather than just a glass of wine) is that they will give you your entire tasting on a tray, carefully labeled, so you can sit and sample at your leisure.  If you’re going for just a glass, we really like their Petit Verdot, which would pair well with brie and baguette.

6)      Paumanok

Paumanok is another place that often features oysters, though not as reliably as Jamesport.  They have a pleasant porch out back of the tasting room which looks out over the vines and fields.  The 2011 Festival Chardonnay was a good match for the oysters, though they may have a new vintage by now.

The deck at One Woman

The deck at One Woman

7)      One Woman

This is a small winery with a small porch which wraps around the tiny tasting room.  You are surrounded by the vines and a large field of grass as you sit and taste.  We found the One Woman Tribute ’11 to be a good sipping wine, and we are in love with the 2012 Grüner Veltliner.

8)      Comtesse Thérèse

This is another winery with a bit of a French accent, and outdoor tastings are in the charmingly disheveled intimate garden behind the Comtesse Thérèse Bistro.  Though the setting is pleasant, we found the service a bit lackluster our last time in the garden, though that could certainly have changed.  The 2011 Chardonnay was a super sipper.

9)      Shinn

Although it was too chilly to sit outdoors on the day we went there, we did admire Shinn’s remodeled outdoor seating area, with comfortable-looking chairs and a nice little snack menu. I’d recommend First Fruit for a sipping wine.

Outdoor area at Shinn

Outdoor area at Shinn

10)   Pugliese

With a pretty little pond and trellis-shaded picnic tables, Pugliese has created a very attractive outdoor seating area.  If it’s not overrun with limo groups, I’d recommend you go there with some cheese and crackers and get the Bella Domenica, a summery red.

Pretty pond at Pugliese

Pretty pond at Pugliese

P.S.  Just visited Mattebella for the first time in two years and their improved outdoor area means they should be added to this post!  (See review for details.)

 

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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One Woman Winery September 2, 2012

The Gruner Veltliner!

http://www.onewomanwines.com/

On the way home from a boat ride with our son and two of his friends, we stop at One Woman Wines and Vineyard for a tasting.  The tiny tasting shack seems crowded at first, but the three lovely young women behind the counter–including Claudia Purita’s (the one woman behind One Woman) daughter Gabrielle–soon sort everyone out, and we all embark on tastings.  There are seven wines on the list, and one can have two for $6, three for $8, or four for $10.  We decide to share a three and a four, and thus taste all seven.  Our son and his friends each opt for tastings of four.  The pour is generous, and we all are feeling good after boating and swimming and enjoying this last summer weekend.  As we sip and ponder, we also enjoy the lovely wildflower arrangements in the shack–also by Claudia!  Several parties have taken their tastings to the outside tables, and a small group seems to be having their own impromptu jam session.  We decide to start with a comparative tasting of their three chardonnays.

1) 08 Chardonnay          $20

This is a pleasant chardonnay, with flavors of pear and vanilla, with a nice fruity aroma and a long finish.  Definitely buyable.

2) 07 Chardonnay         $20

Surprisingly, this has that barnyard aroma we usually find in Long Island merlots.  Fortunately, it tastes better than it smells,with lots of vanilla and some sweetness.  Nice legs.

3) 08 Estate Reserve Chardonnay     $40

This spends 8 months in French oak, and has an orange blossom aroma with again plenty of vanilla and a taste somewhat like caramel candy.Though it is mellow, my husband feels it is too oaked for him, though I like it.

Now we move on to the rest of their wines.

4) 2010 Gewurztraminer          $20

Lovely honeysuckle/floral aroma and flowery/sweet taste make this a nice sipping wine, though not to my taste particularly.

5) 2010 Sauvignon Blanc          $ $24

Their tasting notes say flavors of lemon grass and green apple, and I have to agree.  Though they say it is a Sancerre style, we’re not so sure. However, we do agree that it is a very good wine that would pair well with local oysters.

6) 2010 Gruner Veltliner          $26

Wow–the star of the day!  I don’t know if any other wineries are trying this grape, but it is certainly rare.  It is light and tart, but with plenty of fruit flavors, mostly grapefruit.  Crisp. Good.  We all buy bottles of it!  Nice bonus–on this day, there is a special offer of a free tasting if one pays cash for a bottle of wine, which we do.  We also knew we’d like the gruner since we had tried it at Biere, Claudia’s husband’s restaurant in Greenport, which in its current iteration features Belgian-style fare including excellent mussels and frites, a delicious cheese tray, and interesting beers on tap.

7)  08 Merlot          $28

This is One Woman’s only red, and it is a good standard L.I. merlot, with blackberry flavors and aromas, but not in the same league as her whites, which are really good.

As we get ready to leave, Gabrielle says they are about to release two new wines, and we promise to be back.

Reasons to visit:  Pretty rustic location a bit off the beaten track; nice whites, especially the Gruner Veltliner.