Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard: Wine (and Beer) on Tap                 July 19, 2017

http://www.baitinghollowfarmvineyard.com/

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Though it looks like a Nineteenth Century farmhouse, most of the building is quite new.

Yes, a number of the wines here flow from a tap, and so does a selection of local beers.  And if that doesn’t sound to you like a winery that is serious about its wines…it certainly felt that way to us.  On the other hand, if you read the tasting notes on the reverse of the menu, it certainly seems as though someone cares about the juice of the grape.  Then again, the youthful servers, while perfectly pleasant—and one of them was engagingly chatty—didn’t have much to say about the wines, needing to check some notes, for example, to tell us what percentages of various grapes went into a blend.  And that seemed to suit the customers we saw just fine.  Most of them appeared to be visiting Baiting Hollow as you would a convenient bar, ordering a couple of tastes or glasses to take to a table to have, perhaps, with a cheese tray.

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The server is filling a beer or wine glass from the taps.

The tasting room, situated inside what looks like an old farm house (but is mostly not, as we remember passing by as it was being built), has a small bar but quite a few tables and seating areas, and there is also an extensive outdoor patio which looks like it can accommodate a large crowd.  There’s also a barn on the property where they care for rescue horses.  A portion of the proceeds from certain bottles of wine helps to fund this endeavor. The place also features an array of objets for sale.

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Objets for sale.

The tasting menu offers one taste for $4, three for $9, four for $11, or six for $16.  There are also three more expensive wines available for $5 per taste.  We decided to share one tasting of six wines, as that would enable us to sample most of their offerings.  It was a wise choice, for the pour was often quite generous.  We took our time, happy to be in air conditioning and out of the July heat and humidity.

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One view of the bar.

  1. 2015 White Satin $27.99

“I love this wine,” enthused our server.  “It is very like a pinot grigio.”   She was right, we decided, as we sipped this dry, minerally, and refreshing white blend (of what, we don’t know).  The aroma was both floral and mineral.  The wine also had a trace of a salty taste.  It would be fine with raw oysters or clams.

  1. 2013 Riesling $26.99

Though both the menu and our server described this as “off dry,” we found it a bit too sweet.  Though the aroma had the honeysuckle smell riesling often has—and no cat pee!—the taste was so light that, blindfolded, I’m not sure I would identify it as a riesling.  I did detect some peach flavor.  The mouth feel was interesting, however, as it was rather unctuous.  (We decided to skip the chardonnay, as it is oaked.)

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The Pink Satin looks very pretty on the zinc-topped bar.

  1. 2016 Pink Satin $22.99

Given the current rage for rosé, we thought we should try one of Baiting Hollow’s three rosés, and so asked our server which was the driest.  She suggested Pink Satin, and it was a good choice.  This could certainly be a summer sipper, “not too sweet and not too tart,” opined my husband.  We then had a discussion of the aroma, which I insisted had notes of gasoline, as well as fruit and mineral.  The taste made me think of macerated strawberries, and also of Croteaux 3.  Good.

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  1. 2007 Merlot $26.99

With each taste, our server offered us a clean glass if we desired, so when we switched to reds we accepted her offer.  This was one of the wines with extensive notes in the tasting menu, so we were particularly interested to try it.  The aroma was nice, mostly cherry and chocolate.  The wine itself, however, was very simple, with slight tannins and something unpleasant at the end.  Maybe a woody taste?  “It might be okay with food,” opined my tasting buddy, “but nothing too overpowering.”  I agreed.  The menu notes that this could “bottle age for countless years.”  I would say, don’t count on it.

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The horse which provided the name for the wine.

  1. Mirage $27.99

This Bordeaux-style blend of 26% cabernet franc, 44% cabernet sauvignon, and 30% merlot is one of the wines the profit from which supports their horse rescue operation.  As we admired it in the glass, we felt it had nice legs and a pretty color.  The aroma was less promising, with only faint whiffs of cherry and tobacco.  The taste was also unexceptional, though it is nicely dry, with some fruit tastes.

  1. 2013 Cabernet Franc $28.99

One thing we noticed was that the prices are all quite reasonable, with only a few of their premium wines over $30.  This was our favorite red of the day, dry, with good tannins, and tastes of dark fruit. It would pair well with lamb chops.  It also smells really good, like plums and other dark fruits.  But we did feel as though it had a very short finish.  “It evanesces,” I declared.

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One part of the tasting house.

Reasons to visit:  it’s the first winery you come to on Sound Avenue after you leave the Expressway, so it’s a convenient place to start or end a tasting tour; they have lots of entertainment (check the web site) and food options; beer on tap in case you’re traveling with a non-wine-drinker; reasonably priced wines; the White Satin, the Pink Satin, the Cabernet Franc; you can contribute to their horse rescue operation and possibly visit the horses.  However, this is not a place to come if you are interested in serious conversations about wine!

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Just one part of the extensive outdoor patio area.

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Just a few rules…

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Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard: It Helps to be First January 30, 2016

http://www.baitinghollowfarmvineyard.com/

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The first winery you come to on Sound Avenue, traveling west to east as most visitors do, is Baiting Hollow, and I can’t help but wonder if that has contributed to its popularity.  To be fair, its tasting room is located in an attractive building that is based on what was originally a farmhouse built around 1861, it has an extensive food menu so you can easily have lunch there, and it has an attractive charity to which it donates the profits of certain wines.  It also frequently features musical entertainment, welcomes limos and buses, and its wines are all crowd pleasers.

The band was warming up when we left.

The band was warming up when we left.

The charity is interesting.  They operate a horse rescue sanctuary, where they house horses which were destined for slaughter.  If the day had been warmer, we might have gone out back to take a peek at them.  We did spot one horse through a window. In the summer, they offer pony rides for children.  A number of their wines are marked with a horse’s head on the menu.  These wines are named for particular horses, and the profits from their sale are donated to their charity, as are the profits from the pony rides.

Considering their charity, this photo was not surprising.

Considering their charity, this photo was not surprising. Note the clever use of a wine bottle, too.

The food menu, in addition to the expected snacks and cheese plates, also included today warm soups and chili, and such dishes as “merlot meatball sliders” for $12.99.  We saw several family groups eating lunch when we were there, early in the day on Saturday.

We were glad we went early, since most of the time when we go past Baiting Hollow we are scared away by the crowds of cars and limos.  Today it was nice and quiet, though a band warming up promised livelier times to come.  Instead we had peace in which to savor the wines, and a server who seemed to know all about them.

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The tasting menu offers several options for one ounce tastes:  one taste for $4, three for $9, four for $11, or six for $16.  We opted to share one six-taste flight, chosen from a menu of three whites, two rosés, four reds, and two dessert wines.  Our server apologetically gave us tickets for the six, assuring us that he would remember where we were.  We opted to sample our choices at a nearby table, returning to the bar for each new one.

One of the bars.

One of the bars.

  1. White Satin 2013            $27.99

This is a blend of a couple of different whites with an aroma of chalk or stone and peach pit.  Happily, it tastes better than it smells.  White Satin is a dry, fairly tart white with tastes of blood orange or tangelo and maybe kumquat, with some interest.  My tasting buddy objects to the finish, saying, “I don’t want that taste in my mouth.”  It would be better with food, maybe a nice fresh bluefish.  I like to bake bluefish fillets on top of potatoes, with a few slices of bacon on top.

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  1. Angel Chardonnay 2013 $27.99

One of the horse charity wines, this is typical of those Long Island chardonnays which have spent some time in oak and some in stainless steel.  When you smell it you can detect traces of the wood, plus some mineral and lemon aromas, and the taste includes both lots of lemony citrus and a touch of vanilla (from the oak).  Nice.  It would also go well with local fish, perhaps the blackfish I oven “fried” several times this fall.

  1. 2007 Merlot $26.99

We decide to skip the rosés and the riesling, thinking they might be too sweet for our tastes, and move on to the reds. No new glass.  Sniff.  “Gasoline?” says my husband, perhaps a bit influenced by all the time he spent last week behind our snow blower.  I tilt more towards berries, but I get what he means.  There is a sweet slightly chemical aroma.  The taste is light and pleasant, with a touch of smoke but not enough to be unpleasant.  While not for sipping, this would be fine with chicken or game birds.

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  1. Mirage $27.99

Another wine named for a horse, with proceeds going to the horse rescue, this is their Bordeaux blend, a mixture of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot.  Again, this is a fairly light red, not complex, dry, with berry tastes, and is pleasant enough.  Though it would not stand up to a steak, it would be fine with veal or lamb.  The tasting notes say “bold.”  I say not so much.

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $28.99

You can’t tell a wine by its smell, an adage I just made up, is certainly exemplified by this wine, which smells kind of funky but tastes quite good.  It’s my favorite so far, with lots of mouth-watering acidity and fruit.  It is easy to drink, either as a sipper or with food, and is just the right amount of dry.

  1. Cabernet Franc 2012 $28.99

Just as my husband wonders whether one can actually tell one North Fork red from another, we try this one.  The aroma is quite different from the cab sauv—somewhat reminiscent of Cheracol, that old cough syrup, with no funkiness—and so is the taste.  Lots of blackberry, we decide simultaneously, nice and dry, and less fruity than you’d expect from the aroma.   If I were having roasted Crescent Farms duck breast I’d pair this wine with them.

The glass of Sweet Isis.

The glass of Sweet Isis.

  1. Sweet Isis $32.99 (for 375 ml.)

No, we did not get a free taste!  I decided I wanted to taste one of the dessert wines, and my husband accidentally came back to our table with a whole glass of Sweet Isis.  A taste would have been $5.  The last of the horse rescue wines (thus named for a horse, not a certain group), this is a white wine dessert wine, with lots of fresh pear and apple tastes.  I was concerned that a whole glass of it with no food (blue cheese would have been perfect) would cloy, but somehow as we sat and chatted and sipped it all disappeared.  It was sweet, but appropriately so, and could also go with charcuterie as well as with a cheese platter.  Very likable.

Food was served at this bar.

Food was served at this bar.

Gift items

Gift items

Reasons to visit:  it’s the first winery you come to; horses!; lots of food options; music; you don’t mind crowds; lots of gift items; the Angel Chardonnay, the cabernet sauvignon, the cabernet franc, the Sweet Isis.

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Their rules

Their rules

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