Sherwood House Vineyard: Sip and Shop May 12, 2017

http://www.sherwoodhousevineyards.com/

https://www.hounds-tree.com/

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I happened to snap this at a sunny moment.

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On a cool spring day, when clouds and sun took turns dominating the sky, we stopped into Sherwood House’s tasting room, which we had not been to in almost two years.  Though the tasting room looks much the same, with its cozy fireplace, there have been a number of changes in the winery itself.  We immediately noticed that there were three options on the tasting menu: a Sherwood House flight of five wines for $16, a Hound’s Tree Estate flight of five wines for $16, and a flight of four Library and Estate wines for $24.  We decided to go with one flight of Sherwood House wines and one of Hound’s Tree, tasting them side by side, since there seemed to be comparable choices on both menus.

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The friendly and helpful server explained that Hound’s Tree was a new winery that had bought the Oregon Road vineyard from Sherwood House and was making wines in a West Coast style, in partnership with Appoloni Vineyards, a winery based in Oregon (the state, not the road!).  Meanwhile, the owner and winemaker of Sherwood house planned to go on making their wines in their own style, which is influenced by French methods.  What a nice opportunity to compare styles!

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The shop adjoins the tasting room.

After our tastings we browsed the beautiful shop which adjoins the tasting room.  It used to be called Material Objects, and is now called William Ris East.  It features fine art, sculpture, and antiques (according to their sign), plus jewelry and pottery.  We saw many pieces we liked, and if you are looking for some real art it is a good place to go.  One caution:  the pour in the winery is fairly generous, so don’t make any decisions on buying art if you’re not compos mentis!

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Although the Sherwood House web page mentions music on Saturday afternoons, on this quiet Friday a singer/guitarist set up in a corner and serenaded us with Beatles tunes, among others.  A party of women at a table, who were sharing a bottle of rosé and a cheese tray (bought at the winery and provided by Love Lane cheese shop), seemed to enjoy his performance very much, as did we.  As we chatted with the server, she took note of my notebook and asked directly if we wrote for any publication, so we admitted that I did a blog.  As a result, she gave us two extra tastes.  I’ve labeled the Sherwood House choices SH and the Hound’s Tree choices HT.

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We enjoyed the music.

  1. 2014 Oregon Road Chardonnay SH                       $19

This is a pretty typical North Fork steel-fermented chardonnay, with aromas of pears and minerals and tastes of unripe pear.  It is both sweet and tart, so well-balanced, with a nice long finish.  It is definitely a good food wine.  This, like the other whites, is served too cold (not their fault—wineries are obliged to set their refrigeration at a specified temperature), but we warmed the glass in our palms to get a better sense of the wine.

  1. 2015 HT Estate Chardonnay     $24

Really different!  We get a vegetable aroma—roasted asparagus or Brussels sprouts—and maybe a slight burnt smell.  The taste is also quite different, with some vegetal notes and lots of rock and minerality and even salt, as well as some pear.  However, we like this one, too, and it would also be good with food.  Maybe something rich, like a roast chicken, while the SH chard might do better with scallops.

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  1. 2013 Estate Chardonnay SH        $35

Nope, you won’t find this on the regular tasting menu, but our server thought we should try their one oaked chardonnay.  70% oak, she said, which explained why, though it has some of that butterscotch smell, it does not taste overly oaky.  It had a touch of sweetness, but “not unpleasantly so,” opined my husband.  Though not a sipper, this would stand up to many different foods.  I could see having it with pork chops.

  1. 2015 Estate Rosé HT       $22

A blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, this rosé has a deep pink color and a sweet aroma that I insist smells like red Twizzlers.  My drinking pal suggests “fireplace” and cherry juice.  In any event, it is a very dry rosé, with more citrus than strawberry taste.  I wouldn’t choose it as a sipper, but I think it could be very nice paired with some charcuterie.

  1. Oregon Road White Merlot SH   $19

When we saw “white merlot” we immediately thought of Anthony Nappa’s Anomaly, which is a white pinot noir (no longer called Anomaly), but this is quite different.  I described it as “evanescent,” as it is very light and the taste seems to dissipate very quickly.  The aroma is of strawberries, salt, and minerals, and I actually think it would be fun to drop a few strawberries into a glass for summer sipping.

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The two rose style wines provided quite a contrast in both taste and color.

  1. 2013 Oregon Road Red Blend SH              $19

We agreed that this was the perfect price point for this very nice red table wine, a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon.  My guess is the blend is heavy on the merlot, as I got lots of cherry in the smell and taste.  My husband pronounced it a “perfectly acceptable” dinner wine.  It is fairly dry.

  1. 2015 Cabernet Franc HT              $28

Eh.  Not particularly a fan of this one, which we felt was rather “tame,” in my husband’s opinion.  Light for a cabernet franc, it is not a red you’d want to pair with a steak or other hearty meat.  Maybe veal.

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Though these two reds may look similar, they actually taste quite different.

  1. 2012 Merlot SH               $38

This one we like better than the previous wine. It has mouth-watering tannins, lots of cherry taste and aroma, and also some scents of forest.

  1. 2015 Merlot HT               $28

Again, we prefer the Sherwood House style, as we find this red just okay, with not a lot of fruit or depth.  It’s not bad, just not very interesting.

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  1. 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon HT      $28

Aromas of dark fruits, like plums and berries, good tannins, dry, and tastes of dark fruit.  Again, not exciting, but perfectly acceptable.

  1. 2012 Cabernet Franc SH               $45

I like this one the best of the reds so far, although it has almost no finish.  The aroma is a tad funky, with some notes of forest floor as well as dark fruits.  Another nicely dry wine, it would go well with a cheese platter.

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  1. 2010 Sherwood Manor SH           $45

This is our other extra taste, and a good one it is.  It’s the most interesting wine of the day, with lots of varied flavors and aromas and tannins that make us think it would continue to age well.

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One time when we came here they were selling oysters on the porch.

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More art from the gallery.

Reasons to visit:  cozy tasting room with a fireplace that is in use in the winter; the opportunity to browse a gallery with beautiful pieces; the Oregon Road Chardonnay, the Sherwood House Estate Chardonnay, the Hound’s Tree Estate Rosé, the Oregon Road Red Blend, the Sherwood Manor; music even when it isn’t scheduled.

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We think these crates can be used to store wine.

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Sherwood House: Cozy by the Fire November 22, 2015

http://www.sherwoodhousevineyards.com/About_Us.htm

A view of the fireplace plus musicians

A view of the fireplace plus musicians

It feels as though you are walking into someone’s living room, albeit one with a bar along one side and a couple of folk-ish singers in one corner.  The fire in the stone fireplace surrounded by comfy couches is what you notice when you first enter in the winter.  The welcome from the servers is equally warm, and they do a good job of keeping track of each customer and giving information about the wines.

Sherwood House offers two menus:  the Premium Flight of four wines for $12 and the Top Reds Flight of 4 reds for $15.  They also offer cheese and/or salumi plates for $15 or $20, prepared by Lombardi’s Market in Mattituck.  We decide to share the Premium Flight, thinking we may stop back at some point to try the other one.   The pour was generous enough that we decided we had made the right decision.

Array of bottles

Array of bottles

  1. White Merlot   $19

We compared this to Anthony Nappa’s Anomaly and to various rosés we have tried, and found some similarities and some differences.  Like a rosé it has a faint strawberry aroma, though we felt the smell was a bit funkier than most, and like Anomaly it was neither a red nor a white nor a rosé, but its own thing.  The color is a very light pink, the taste is lemony and refreshingly dry (1-2% residual sugar, notes our server), and the aroma has a slight mushroomy tinge to it.  Good for summertime barbequed chicken!

You can see the pink tinge of the White Merlot.

You can see the pink tinge of the White Merlot.

  1. 2013 Oregon Road Chardonnay $19

This is an unoaked chard, a bit on the sweet side for an unoaked chard, with a touch of overripe pineapple plus lemon flavors.  “Not much to say,” opines my tasting buddy, as we swirl the wine to open up the flavors.

Generous pour.

Generous pour.

  1. 2012 Chardonnay $30

“This wine spends 12 months in second year oak barrels,” our server tells us.  I now know what this implies!  As I’ve learned, the extent to which being aged in oak affects a wine depends on whether the wine was aged in new oak barrels (in which case the oak affects it more heavily) as well as how long it was aged.  As expected, we can taste and smell some butterscotch, but not too much, and some toasty, pineappley flavors. My husband claims it reminds him of Reese’s peanut butter cups.  It’s not sweet and has some interesting layers of flavor (once we warm up our too-cold taste).  It would be great with lobster.

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  1. 2012 Oregon Road Merlot $19

A combination of 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon, the wine spends 12 months in oak.  Noting our seriousness, our server provides us with a clean glass for the red, something I always appreciate.  The aroma reminds me of perfumed soap, but fortunately it doesn’t taste like that!  We get blackberry, some cherry, some woody flavors, and no tannins.  Soft, we decide, and just okay.

  1. 2011 Cabernet Franc $45

Wait, you cry, didn’t she say you get four tastes?  Well, yes, but once again the fact that we take notes and discuss each wine seriously gets us an extra taste.  And happily, this is the best of the bunch.  Our enthusiastic server notes that the reds are “where we shine,” and I would agree as to this one.  The aroma includes some scents of forest floor and dried herbs, the taste is very cherry berry, with some tannins and some interest to it. Not sure it is worth the price, but it is a lovely wine.

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Reasons to visit:  Good place to sit in winter with a glass of wine (I’d choose a red) and listen to music while contemplating a fire in the fireplace; the 2012 chardonnay, the 2011 cabernet franc.  They also offer a blanc de blancs.

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if you get bored with your tasting you can check out the funky objets at Material Objects next door.

if you get bored with your tasting you can check out the funky objets at Material Objects next door.

 

Sherwood House: Just a Touch Funky September 20, 2014

http://www.sherwoodhousevineyards.com/

The 1860s farmhouse that houses Sherwood House's tasting room

The 1860s farmhouse that houses Sherwood House’s tasting room

Located on the Main Road in Jamesport in an 1860s farmhouse, Sherwood House’s tasting room has a homey, slightly funky atmosphere, enhanced by the fireplace in the main room, the outdoor deck areas, and the adjacent Material Objects shop which features antique and found objects of all sorts.  They also have an outdoor tasting area in their vineyard in Mattituck, which may or may not be open.  As we pulled into the parking lot we noticed an exciting sign:  raw bar.  Oh goody!  We have become enamored of the local Peconic Bay oysters.

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The main room is homey and cozy, with soft couches in front of the fireplace (which actually has a fire in the winter), bunches of flowers, and a wooden bar along one side.  You can also opt to go outside, either to a back deck or to a front seating area with picnic tables.  On this Saturday afternoon the room also contains a singer/guitar player, strumming folk-ish songs.  As we stand at the bar we see a huge party bus pull into the parking lot, but they are clearly headed for the tasting barn out back, where we went last winter for a very enjoyable music performance.

Fireplace seating area

Fireplace seating area

The tasting menu offers three flights:  Estate, four tastes for $10; Premium, four for $12; or Top Reds, four for $15.  They also offer a taste of their brandy, $10 for a one-ounce pour.  There is some overlap amongst the offerings, so they don’t actually have 12 wines.  They also offer a cheese platter for $20, and wines by the glass for $6-12.

We decide to share a tasting of the Premium flight, and then decide whether to get another tasting or go for a glass of wine to have with a plate of oysters.

  1. 2012 Oregon Road Chardonnay                                $18

Oregon Road is the pretty back road on which their vineyard is located, where you can also find Shinn and Lieb’s tasting rooms.  This is their steel fermented chard, a pleasant but rather soft and not-crisp quaff, with tastes of sweet ripe pineapple and an aroma of sweet orange.

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  1. 2011 Chardonnay $30

Of course this smells like vanilla and ripe pear, as it is an oaked chard, with tastes of tangerine on the front, then butterscotch and vanilla.  It is surprisingly tart for an oaked chard, though it is mellow enough to make it a pleasant sipping wine.  We quite like it.

  1. 2007 Merlot $26

Since 07 was a very good year on the North Fork, we have high hopes for this merlot, but our server warns us not to get our hopes up too high.  “The 07 is at the end of its development,” he notes, “and the 08 has more growth potential.”  Sniff.  Earth, tobacco, and something organic.  Taste.  Some dark fruit, tobacco, dry but not tannic, and not much of a finish.  I would say, if you have a bottle of this, drink it now.

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  1. 2008 Merlot $34

Much better!  The tasting menu notes this scored an 87 in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and we can see why.  “The aroma just jumped out at me,” says my husband.  Not sure what he means, but it smells delicious.  No earth, lots of fruit, and then we taste dark fruit and chocolate.  Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad pairing—this wine and some dark chocolate, maybe with a bit of raspberry in the chocolate.  This is our favorite of the day, and if we come here during the winter for a concert, I would get a glass of this.

Oysters!

Oysters!

However, we are headed for the oysters.  Though we feel it wouldn’t be the best pairing, we opt for glasses of the 2011 Chardonnay, though I would prefer a sauvignon blanc to go with oysters.  The oysters are delicious, sweet and briny and full of liquid, fresh from Peconic Bay, to the west of Robins Island, as we are told.  We spend a pleasant half hour sitting outside, enjoying our wine and bivalves and listening to the music from inside, which we appreciate much more now that it is not quite so loud.

Front porch and oyster bar

Front porch and oyster bar

Reasons to visit:  a very pleasant tasting room; an intimate setting that also can accommodate groups; the chance to browse the collection at Material Objects; the 2011 Chardonnay and the 2008 Merlot.

Back deck

Back deck

Live on the Vine February 22, 2014

http://www.liwinterfest.com/liwinterfest/?src=liwinterfest.com

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Bacchus knew what he was about when he linked wine and music together, and so do the wineries on the North Fork.  To chase away the winter doldrums—and what a winter we have had!—many of the wineries participate in the Long Island Winterfest activity called Live on the Vine, which brings musical performers to the tasting rooms.  It used to be called Jazz on the Vine, but then the decision was made to open up to a more varied musical palette.

Most of the venues charge a fee of $20, which includes a full glass of wine.  (After an hour we bought a second glass for $8.)  We decided Sherwood House had the most convenient performance time and location, and checked my blog to decide which wine to get.  The other piece of information we needed was whether or not we wanted to see the performer they were featuring.

After much discussion and checking out of performers on-line, we decided to go to Sherwood House on Saturday for a performance by Jack’s Waterfall, and we were glad we did.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacks-Waterfall/116888458362499

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jackswaterfall

On a web page, Jack describes his music as a combination of “Folk, Blues, Gospel and World Music,” and I’d say that’s about right.  There was a lot of toe-tapping and head bobbing in the full-house audience, and even some dancing.

Jack's Waterfall in action.

Jack’s Waterfall in action.

Sherwood House used a second, barn-like building on their Main Road site for their music venue, leaving their tasting room free for those who wanted to do a tasting.  The room reminded me a bit of an Adirondack lodge, with its stone fireplace and animal head on the wall.  An array of chairs and folding chairs formed a semi-circle around the band, so everyone could see and hear well.

A view of the room.

A view of the room.

http://www.sherwoodhousevineyards.com/

If you haven’t made it out East yet, you still have time, as Winterfest has been extended for an extra week in March.  It is very pleasant to sit in a cozy winery, glass of wine in hand, and listen to music.  I recommend you go!

Dancers!

Dancers!

Sherwood House September 29, 2012

Two of our tastes.

http://www.sherwoodhousevineyards.com/

It was a chilly rainy September Saturday, but the agritainment business was in full swing.  We passed up the Harbes Pumpkin Fest and stopped in at the Garden of Eve Garlic Fest (disappointing–no pickled garlic, only one booth making garlic braids, and lots of booths selling the same jewelry we saw at the Maritime Festival) before ending our outing at Sherwood House Winery, on the main road.  They have a little tasting shack in Mattituck, on Oregon Road, in the midst of their vineyard, but now they also have a very nice though small tasting room on Main Road in Jamesport.  They share their space with a shop called Material Objects, which sells various interestingly quirky household items.  Inside the room, there was a lovely fire in the fireplace, very welcome on this damp afternoon, and a group of people sitting around it in comfortable chairs, enjoying a tasting.  We stood at the bar, where we chatted a bit with wine club members doing a tasting and pick-up and other people.  A musician in the corner played quietly.

The tasting choices are the $8 Estate Flight of four wines, the $10 Premium Flight, also of four wines, or the $14 Owner’s Flight, of four of their highest quality wines.  We opted to share one Estate and one Premium.  A couple next to us got the Owner’s Flight, which began with a champagne-style sparkling wine, and the information from the well-informed and alert server that their winemaker is from the Champagne region of France.  Hmmm…maybe next time…

In the notes that follow, the even-numbered notes are from the Premium tasting, and the odd-numbered ones from the Estate one.

1.  2011 Unoaked Chardonnay         $18

Their only all-steel fermented chard, this pleasant wine has a lemony aroma and a nice, light, clean taste with a creamy finish.  It would make a lovely summer sipper, out on the deck, perhaps.  Good, and buyable.

2.  09 Chardonnay          $30

In contrast, this chard spent several months in oak, and has the usual, though faint, aroma of vanilla and wood.  We taste unripe pear, with some grapefruit, but an unpleasantly sweet finish that we don’t care for.

3.  2011 Bouquet Rose          $18

Screwtop!  The server informs us that this is not their own wine, but is made from their grapes by another wine maker, and is in the tasting because they have sold out of their own rose.  Made from cabernet franc grapes, this reminds us of cherry Kool-Aid!  Dumpable.  Light and sweet, if that’s what you like.

4.  05 Merlot          $34

This one is good with chocolate, says the server, and we agree (Though we would like to have the chance to try it WITH chocolate, none is on offer…).  The aroma is dark cherry, with some oak, and the taste is moderately dry, with a faint hint of the earthy terroir, but otherwise nicely fruity.  This merlot spends 18 months in oak, and is a lovely wine, and would be good with pork chops or turkey (starting to think about Thanksgiving).

5.  04 Oregon Road Merlot          $16

This is our favorite of the day, and we buy two bottles to have with barbequed ribs tonight.  Not a lot of aroma, but lovely fruit tastes with a slight hint of smoke.  13 months in oak, we are told.

6.  06 Merlot          $25

This one spends 18 months in oak, and is also very good.  The aroma is of black raspberry, and though it is dry there is plenty of plum and raspberry flavor, with a bit of oak and a slight touch of smoke.

7.  04 Merlot          $20

The 04 also spent 18 months in oak, and it is interesting that Sherwood House tends to hold onto their reds for several years before release.  Again, aromas of berry and oak, with some sweetness and a light taste.  Pleasant, but not exciting, and while we would not refuse to drink it we have no inclination to buy it.

8.  08 Merliance          $40

Merliance is a blend–what Lewis Carroll would call a “portmanteau word”–of Merlot and alliance, and is made from grapes grown by Castello Borghese, Clovis Point, McCall’s, Pellegrini, Sherwood House and Wolffer Estates, each of which contributes two barrels of wine to the mixture.  Though not worth the price, it is a nice wine, with a flowery aroma and nice legs.  The proceeds from the sale of this wine benefit various events and research sponsored by the alliance.

 

Reasons to visit:  Really nice reds, a cozy tasting room with a fireplace for cold days, the chance to browse an interesting household goods store.  Buyable:  Unoaked Chardonnay and Oregon Road Merlot and 05 Merlot.