September 3, 2021
As though to compensate for all the heat and rain we encountered this summer, September is starting out pleasantly warm and dry. It was a perfect day to go to a winery and sit outside, and, after some discussion and viewing of websites, we and our visitors decided to go to a winery in our immediate neighborhood, Bridge Lane. Though we had all been there several times in the past, we hadn’t visited in a few years, and notably not since they did a lovely renovation of their outdoor area, with rainbow-striped tables, a pebbled surface, comfy Adirondack chairs, and a couple of shuffleboard courts. A wooden wall and evergreen trees help screen the area from the cars whizzing past on Sound Avenue.
Bridge Lane has several aspects that made it a good choice for us, besides its proximity. It welcomes children, at least during the week, and has ample outdoor space for them to roam, and it also allows you to bring your own snacks. By the way, it is right across Cox Neck Lane from a little shopping center which includes Wendy’s Deli, Pizza Rita (which has fantastic thin-crust gourmet pizzas, but is only open Thursday-Sunday—and not always then, check their Facebook page to be sure they’re not off doing a catering job), and Ali Katz Kitchen, which also has limited hours but has delicious baked goods as well as other interesting foods, such as quiche. I think all of those places should work out a deal with Bridge Lane to offer coupons worth something off their food if you are doing a tasting or sitting there with a glass or bottle or can of wine!
Yes, I did say can. In what is becoming something of a trend out here, a number of wineries are offering their wines in cans, which hold about two glasses. Bridge Lane goes further, and also offers boxes and even kegs of their wine. This fits with their overall philosophy, which is that wine should be a fun, casual, inexpensive drink; all the bottles are $20 each. Interestingly, they are affiliated with Lieb Cellars, which takes their wine very seriously.
A few more comments—our visit was enhanced by the presence of Bunker, a sweet and friendly little white poodle, property of our server, who noted that they do allow dogs on the property, unlike many other wineries. The children in our party fell in love with Bunker. And in a nice touch, the server brought out to the tables bottles of water with paper cups. They do have live music on weekends, but this afternoon recorded music of the Billy Joel type provided some background sounds.
If you look over the fence at the back of the tasting room and see huge metal vats, know they are not just there for Bridge Lane wines (though our server did inform us that they sell more wine than most other wineries on the North Fork). The site also houses Premium Wine Group, which does the winemaking for a number of the smaller vineyards who don’t have their own winemaking equipment.
A tasting consists of all five of their wines for $15, and the pour is quite generous, so my tasting buddy and I were glad we had opted to share. Our guests bought boxes of the white merlot, the chardonnay, and the red blend to take home.
I liked this the best of the wines. It is a light, citrusy, floral white, a good summer sipper, and would have gone well with the oysters from Braun’s we had the night before.
The aroma of this wine is one I don’t care for, as it has hints of kerosene. Also a scent of cut grass. Otherwise, this is a pleasantly dry white, which would go well with scallops or a fish in a creamy sauce.
This wine gave me the opportunity to teach some of the party the word petrichor, which is the scent of earth after rain—or that smell you get in the City when you walk past an apartment building on a hot day and the doorman is out there washing off the sidewalk. One guest and I agreed that the taste of this was like a not-quite-ripe nectarine or yellow plum, with some pleasant minerality. Again, this is a light, dry wine.
A couple of days ago we had local duck breast and drank a Channing Daughters rosé made from syrah grapes with it. This rosé is not nearly as tasty. It has a slight strawberry aroma, and is extremely light and dry, without much fruit flavor. “It would be good in a kir,” observed one guest.
So if you got a pizza from Pizza Rita, this would be the perfect wine to drink with it. Like all the other wines, it is light and dry and easy to drink; it’s a good pizza/pasta wine. It’s a good red for non-red-wine drinkers.
Reasons to visit: pleasant outdoor seating areas; reasonably priced wine and tasting, with a generous pour; the white merlot, the chardonnay, and the red blend; snacks are allowed; dogs are allowed; children are allowed; Bunker!