“I don’t want to leave,” I complained, but our friends had somewhere to go and we had errands to run before our dinner reservation, so reluctantly I left our comfy seats on the prettily rustic porch of the Old Field Vineyards. Old Field is a great place if you want a quiet country setting where you can see ducks and chickens and the occasional goose wander by. You can stand at the bar covered by mismatched tablecloths or go for a picnic table under the trees. We had opted for a nice round table at the shady end of the porch, where our friends set out the snacks they had brought so we munched as we tasted.
The tasting menu offers four options: four whites for $9, four reds for $10, four mixed for $8, or four “Weekend Gold” selections for $10. Both couples opted to share a white and then a red, so we could discuss our opinions as we sipped. One improvement over the last time we were here: tastes are now served in proper wine glasses, instead of the little plastic cups they used to use.
- 2014 Blush de Noir $16
“We had an event last week,” our friends said, “and served this out on the deck. It was great.” I can see that, as this is a very light, crisp almost white rosé with a “slatey strawberry” smell and a touch of citrus.
- 2013 Mostly Steel Chardonnay $20
Although our friend thought it seemed “tame” after the Blush de Noir, I quite liked this very slightly oaked chard, with just a touch of vanilla and lots of lemon flavor. It has just enough oak to take the edge off the sometimes too acid lemon flavor a steel chard can have.
- 2013 Barrel Chardonnay $28
The menu informs us that this is a new release, and spends seven months in French oak. You can definitely smell that vanilla aroma of an oaked chard, but this again is not overly oaked. No one, we decided, would complain if you served this. “It’s a people’s wine,” asserts our friend, who I begin to suspect is angling to be quoted in this review. Though I like it, I have to agree that it has no finish, and the taste does not linger.
- Charging Goose Sauvignon Blanc $25
The menu had listed Cacklin’ Rosé as the last of the whites, but instead they’ve changed their selections to this new release. That’s fine with me, since I wanted to try this one anyway, and I never think anyone’s rosés measure up to Croteaux. We get into a rather involved discussion of the smell, which we like, and compare to hay, Meyer lemon, berries, and butter. We also like the taste, which combines berries and a mellow citrus. When I suggest it would go well with oysters, we start to plan for our next outing to include oysters, perhaps at Old Mill during Happy Hour or at Jamesport.
- Rooster Tail $18
This is their un-dated merlot all-purpose pizza and pasta red, which we have bought by the case in the past. It is still good, especially for the price, with plenty of cherry tastes and an aroma of blackberries. Dry. New glasses for the reds, by the way.
- 2012 Cabernet Franc $36
We decide we like the smell of this one better than the taste. Not that it is bad, just that it lacks the depth the delicious aroma would seem to promise. It has lots of dark fruit taste, and we agree that if it were less expensive we would happily buy it.
- 2010 Merlot $26
“It blankets you with flavor and then gets out of town,” opines our friend, happy to see me writing down his words. Well, he’s right. After a slightly funky forest floor, peat mossy aroma, the taste is pleasantly cherry and other fruit, but has no staying power. Again, like the other wines, this is a drinkable but not distinguished wine.
- 2010 Commodore Perry $38
This one is more distinguished. Named for the illustrious ancestor of the owners, they only make this wine in good years, and 2010 was pretty universally considered to have been a very good year for Long Island wines, especially the reds, as we had a nice long warm growing season. We had bought and cellared the 2007 the last time we were here. The smell is delicious, like “a leather tobacco pouch dipped in red wine,” says our eloquent friend. Though it is a merlot, like the Rooster Tail, it has much more depth and interest. You could have it with steak or lamb chops and it would stand up to those strong meat tastes. It’s my favorite of the day.
Reasons to visit: calm rustically bucolic setting with lots of trees and lawn space; the Blush de Noir and the Commodore Perry; a vineyard with a history worth learning about (check their web site) and admirable bio-dynamic methods.