Wine and Food Pairings (Inspired by Newsday)

Wine and Food Pairings (Inspired by Newsday)

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https://www.newsday.com/

https://paper.newsday.com/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?edid=b162131d-f983-4571-8d34-226583242f16&pnum=1

Today, for Valentine’s Day, Newsday ran a nice little piece, “Perfect Pairings,” about wine and food pairings. But they missed an opportunity, which Nofowineaux will attempt to remedy.  For example, they mentioned Peconic Bay oysters, but not the Long Island wines one could drink with them.  So what follows is my own list of the foods and types of wines they mentioned, updated with my own recommendations of local wines to use.

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We get a new red-wine-friendly glass with the reds.

  1. Roast chicken

Newsday says have pinot noir or an oaked chardonnay.  I say, try Castello Borghese’s or McCall’s pinot noir, or Castello’s oaked chardonnay.

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  1. Pasta with a Bolognese sauce

Chianti would be perfect, of course, and it is made with the sangiovese grape, which is found on Long Island in a few places.  Try the sangiovese from Pugliese, or the Meritage from Laurel Lake, a blend that includes sangiovese.

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The second three of the still wines. A coaster under each glass identifies the wine.

  1. Lobster

They say a steel fermented chardonnay or a rosé.  Of course, as soon as I hear rosé, I think of Croteaux, which has lovely dry Provençal-style rosés.  For a steel chard, my favorite is Channing Daughters Scuttlehole Chardonnay.

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  1. Chicken Tikka Masala

Aside from my own kitchen, I don’t know anywhere on the North Fork to get Indian food.  When I make Indian food (as I did last night, making curried cauliflower and cucumber raita), I like to pair it with a slightly sweet white, which is also what Newsday suggests.  They say use a gewürztraminer, and you have three good options on the North Fork:  Osprey’s Dominion, Coffee Pot Cellars, or, my preference, One Woman.  We drank Meditazione from Channing Daughters, a delicious orange wine made from a blend that includes gewürztraminer.

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  1. Roasted White Fish

There are lots of good options for white fish fillets at Braun’s, and there’s almost always cod.  Newsday suggests a sauvignon blanc.  Almost every winery has a drinkable sauvignon blanc, but I prefer Channing Daughters to most of the others.  It is nicely dry, but has enough fruit to give it taste.  Other good ones: Diliberto’s, Duck Walk, Clovis Point, and Coffee Pot Cellars.

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  1. Rib-Eye Steak

Two sources of good beef are Wayside Market and 8 Hands (though 8 Hands doesn’t always have beef—check their web page or call before you go).  As to wines, Newsday recommends either a cabernet sauvignon or a sparkling wine (and many people believe sparkling wines go with everything).  Big reds are in short supply on the North Fork, but Laurel Lake has a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve that’s pretty good.  Sparkling Pointe, of course, only makes sparkling wines.  Their Brut Magnum is lovely, but if you don’t care to buy a huge bottle you could try Roanoke Vineyard’s sparkling wine.

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The sparkler and the chard

  1. Oysters

In general, I like sauvignon blancs with oysters.  I find the lemony taste of the wine complements the bivalves very nicely.  They suggest a Muscadet or a sparkling wine.  You might try the Sherwood House blanc de blancs, or one of the above suggestions.

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  1. Cauliflower Steak

As Newsday notes in its article, it is often hard to pair wine and vegetables.  They suggest a grüner veltliner with this dish, and I agree.  One Woman makes a grüner that is one of my favorite North Fork whites.

As with all suggested wine and food pairings, personal taste is paramount.  If you just don’t like red wines or white wines (but why?), just go with what you like.  A light red can go with fish or chicken, and a heavy white, like an oaked chardonnay, can go with meats.  However, I can’t picture having any white with steak.  Instead, have a beer! Happy Valentine’s Day.

Sherwood House: One Stop, Two Labels October 25, 2018

Sherwood House: One Stop, Two Labels               October 25, 2018

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The tasting room used to be a farm house, and it still has a homey feel.

https://www.sherwoodhousevineyards.com/

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

What happens when a vineyard is bought by new owners, who want to make their own style of wine, but the previous owners still use the same grapes for their wines?  You get Sherwood House and Hound’s Tree wines, made from the same grapes but in different styles.  Sherwood’s winemaker, Gilles Martin, likes the French style, while Hound’s Tree’s owners, who are from Oregon, use a West Coast style.  Confusingly, the vineyard is located on the North Fork on Oregon Road.

The last time we were here, the server set us up with parallel tastings, but this time, in the absence of her suggestions, we did a tasting of the Sherwood Classic wines, and then the Hound’s Tree ones.  There are actually four tasting options, but the two we did had no overlap.  In addition to the set tastings, they will also craft an all white or all red tasting on request.

Since the room is so pleasant, and we realized we’d be there a while, we decided to get a small cheese tray, put together by Lombardi’s Market.  $15.  Did we want crackers with that?  As opposed to what, eating the cheese by hand?  That will be an additional $3 for a small sleeve of Carr’s Water Crackers.  That seems a bit chintzy to us, especially since the cheese tray is rather meager.

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The cheese tray is adequate for two, if neither of them is very hungry.

We settled at a table, in sight of the fire in the fireplace, and brought our tastings and our cheese to the table ourselves.  Two other couples came in and took glasses of wine to sit on the couches by the fireplace.  Through an open doorway we could see into the William Riis gallery, where art, sculpture, and antiques are for sale.  Not a bad way to while away an afternoon.

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The first five wines are the Sherwood Classics Flight, $30 for a fairly generous pour.

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The sparkler and the chard

  1. 2016 Blanc de Blancs    $45

This is only the second time they have released a sparkling wine, so it is new to us.  Made from chardonnay grapes, it has a slightly vegetal aroma and is a pleasant dry sparkler.  It has a slightly yeasty taste, and is light.  You could definitely have this with a meal or some charcuterie.

  1. 2016 Chardonnay $3

Our server describes this as “lightly oaked,” and I agree that it is not overly oaky or buttery or butterscotchy.  On the other hand, it is fairly nondescript, I say.  Undistinguished, adds my tasting buddy.  Bittersweet, with just a trace of butterscotch, even with the cheese it is just okay.

  1. 2010 Merlot $38

Better than the average North Fork merlot is our assessment of this dry and elegant red.  It has aromas and tastes of cherry, as expected, but also some interesting layers of flavor.

  1. 2014 Cabernet Franc $40

Although this has a nice aroma of brambles and blackberries, there’s not much taste.  It’s a soft red, with no tannins, and some minerality.  Not a sipping wine, it would be okay with a burger.

  1. 2010 Sherwood Manor $45

The tasting ends with their Bordeaux blend, of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot.  The menu describes it as “preciously aged”—whatever that means—in French oak.  I smell plums and other red fruit, but it is too cold to taste much, so I warm it in my palm.  Ah, now I can taste it.  This is quite good, a wine for steak, dry, with various fruit flavors.  It’s also nice with the Marcona almonds on the cheese plate.

 

Each taste comes in its own glass, by the way.  Now we move on to the Hound’s Tree Flight, $25 for five tastes.  We snack on our crackers and cheese a bit to clear our palates.

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  1. 2016 Rosé         $22

The aroma is slightly funky, and smells like fermented berries.  Yum.  This has more taste than the average rosé, though it is served too cold, of course.  It is a blend of 70% merlot, 15% cabernet franc, and 15% cabernet sauvignon.  We taste fruit and minerality, but it’s not overly fruity.  This would be a good summer sipper.

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When wine is too cold, try warming it with your palms.

  1. 2016 Chardonnay $26

What is acacia aged?  The server has told us that this is aged in steel and acacia, but she can’t answer what that means.  We sniff and get minerals and just a touch of citrus.  My husband sips and says, “Watery.”  It is very light.  I say it is “not unpleasant,” which is not exactly high praise.

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Pretty labels.

  1. 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon $29

By the way, we find the labels for the Hound’s Tree wines quite attractive.  Although this has almost no aroma, it has, says my husband, “a distinctive taste which lingers in your mouth.”  It’s dry, almost tart, with not much fruit at all and some tannins.  Perhaps it needs to age longer.

  1. 2015 Merlot $29

Unlike the Sherwood merlot, which had lots of cherry aroma, this has almost no aroma.  It is quite dry, with some tannins but no depth, and is drinkable but not at all complex.  Innocuous, is a word we agree on.

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  1. 2015 Cornus Reserve $45

Why “Cornus”?  She doesn’t know, and the web site doesn’t even list this wine.  In any event, it is their Bordeaux blend, of 62% cabernet sauvignon, 19% merlot, 12% cabernet franc, 4% petit verdot, and 3% malbec.  Of all the wines we tried today, this is our favorite.  It has red plum aromas, and a somewhat complex taste with red fruits and tobacco.  The tannins make me think it could improve with age.  It would pair well with lamb or mutton chops.

Reasons to visit:  pleasant, cozy tasting room with a fireplace and comfy couches; the chance to compare two different styles of winemaking using the same grapes (with very different results); the Sherwood Merlot and Manor; the Hound’s Tree Rosé and Cornus Reserve; you can shop the interesting items in the next-door gallery.  If I came there to sit by the fire and sip a glass of wine while listening the

 

 

music, I would get a glass of the Cornus.

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Channing Daughters: SoFo, So Good September 14, 2018

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https://www.channingdaughters.com/

Friends often ask me, “What’s your favorite winery?”  I have various answers—rosés at Croteaux, whites at One Woman, reds at Pellegrini, Mattebella for sitting outside, Sherwood for the fireplace in the winter, etc.—but really, Channing Daughters is my favorite.  Unfortunately, it is on the South Fork, so we don’t get there as often as we like.  However, we had an errand that could only be done in Southampton, so off we went.  The errand finished, we took a walk around Sag Harbor, got a bite of lunch at the Golden Pear (really good sandwich), and headed to Channing Daughters.

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This line-up of bottles shows just some of the wines Channing Daughters makes.

So why do we like this winery so much?  It is the most creative, interesting winery on Long Island, growing about two dozen different grapes and mixing and matching them in unusual ways.  And we like almost all their wines. That’s why we joined their wine club, despite the inconvenience of having to be home to sign for the UPS delivery.

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Part of the outside area.

The tasting room is small, with a bar along one side and a few barrels on which to rest your tastes, plus some outside tables in the summer.  They carry a small selection of wine-related gifts, and offer some plain crackers as palate cleansers.  However, we’ve never been there without having interesting conversations with both the people at the bar and the servers, who are very well versed in the wines and eager to share what they know. For really complete analyses of the wines, check out their web site.

 

A tasting consists of six wines for $18, and though the wines in the tasting are listed on a chalkboard, we overheard the servers customize tastings for people based on what they like or don’t like.  As wine club members, we could have tasted any wines, but I wanted to taste the two wines which had just come in our shipment.  So we did the standard tasting plus those two.  Although we each could have had our own tasting, we decided to share in the interests of sobriety.

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The upside down tree is their logo, and references one of Walter Channing”s skills, which is carving.

  1. 2015 Vino Bianco           $20

A blend of 36% Pinot Grigio, 26% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Tocai Friulano and 23% Chardonnay, this is a basic good white wine.  Dry and refreshing, it has, observed my husband, “lots of taste.”  Citrus, flowers, spice, fruit—I agree.  They age some of the wine in steel, some in old oak, some in new oak, then blend it all together.  As I said, they are creative!  We buy two bottles, and think about having some the next time we buy oysters.

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  1. 2016 Rosato di Sculpture Garden $25

This is one of the rosés they make.  A number of years ago, they had seven, the result of late heavy rains which made them reluctant to use the red wine grapes for reds, as the flavor would be too diluted.  So instead they made rosé.  Good move.  The rosés were so popular, they now make a bunch every year.  This one is a field blend, of 91% merlot, 6% teroldego, and 3% blaufrankisch.  Really nice.  The aroma is somewhat earthy and minerally, and it has the strawberry taste you expect plus a really nice minerality and maybe some nutmeg.  Good.

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Orange wine!

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  1. 2014 Meditazione $40

Pronouncing the name with Italian verve, our server explained all about orange wine.  This is a white wine made using the red wine method of fermenting the juice with the skins, hence the orange color.  A blend of 36% Pinot Grigio, 21% Muscat Ottonel, 14% Chardonnay, 13% Tocai Friulano, 7% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Pinot Bianco and 4% Gewurztraminer, this is not an easy wine to drink on its own.  We have it with a couple of crackers, which improves the experience.  It smells like baked oranges and tastes like apples and spices.  They suggest pairing it with game birds or sausages, and that makes sense to me.

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  1. 2017 Rosso Fresco $22

Fresh red?  Yes, because this is a light, bright red, more along the lines of a Beaujolais.  I could see serving on the deck with hot dogs.  It’s another blend, of 76% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 8% Blaufrankisch, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Teroldego, and is barely aged.  They even suggest serving it slightly chilled.  It would make a great summer red.

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  1. 2017 Petillant Naturel Rosato $28

I usually eschew sparkling pink wines.  Fortunately, I did not skip this one.  Wow, is it good!  Mouthwatering, bubbly, dry, with some strawberry aroma and flavor, this wines makes a good case for never dismissing any type of wine before you taste the iteration in front of you.  The servers were going into great detail on the methods used to create this wine, which included freezing the tank at one point and fermenting it in the bottle.  Just another Channing Daughter original.

 

  1. VerVino Vermouth (500 ml) $28

Yes, the tasting ends with one of the vermouths they make.  This is a somewhat sweet one, and would make a fine aperitif or dessert wine.  There’s a somewhat chemical aroma—maybe petroleum? —but fortunately the vermouth doesn’t taste like gasoline.  I get sweet apples, pears, and other fruit flavors.  Vermouth is made by adding various herbs and other ingredients to wine, and at Channing they vary them by season.  This one includes such fall produce as apples, Asian pears, pumpkin, butternut squash, calendula, sage, borage etc.

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The “wild child” name references the use of wild yeast.

  1. 2015 L’Enfant Sauvage $38

This is one of the wines in our current shipment, so I added it to the tasting.  A chardonnay made with wild yeasts, this wine has varied over the years.  Sometimes it’s my favorite, and other times…not so much.  This iteration is yummy.  Although it spends fifteen months in French oak, it doesn’t have that buttery taste I dislike in oaked chards.  I do detect a bit of that woody flavor, which reminds me of when I was a kid and I would sometimes bite my pencils, but I also get lime and baked pear.  You could have it with very assertive dishes, like spicy Chinese food, or even as an aperitif.  We buy a bottle to add to the one we already have, aging in our cellar.

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  1. 2016 Dornfelder

I wonder if this is a wine which would improve with age, since of all the wines we tried today this is my least favorite.  But they do suggest aging it in the bottle, so we will see.  A blend of 85% dornfelder and 15% pinot noir, it has red fruit aromas and flavors, but is not a really deep big red.

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Lots of choices!

Reasons to visit:  some of the best and most creative wines on Long Island; the Vino Bianco, the Rosato, the Petillant Naturel Rosato, L’Enfant Sauvage, and more; there’s always something new to try; one of the few wineries on the South Fork, so well worth a visit if you find yourself in Sag Harbor.

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Mr. Channing’s sculptures decorate the tasting room and the grounds.

 

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.