October 21, 2021
I expect I will be able to use the subtitle “under new ownership” quite a few times this year, as recently a number of wineries have changed hands. In some cases, already existing wineries have expanded by buying their neighbors, while in others new owners have entered the North Fork wine scene. Peconic Bay is a case of the latter, as the Soloviev family has been actively investing in the North Fork over the past few years. Peconic has been officially closed for about eight years, though we stopped in there in 2017 when it was briefly open, as the previous owner was, according to our server, trying to sell out his stock.
Since they have been closed, they have been selling their grapes to other local wineries, which is why they only have limited quantities of certain varieties. However, we were told by Sam, our charming and chatty server, those contracts are about to end, so she is looking forward to seeing what their winemaker—who is the same one who worked at Peconic before—will come up with. For now, they offer seven wines, though two of them—the sauvignon blanc and the merlot—are in such limited quantity that they are not selling them by the bottle.
It was another beautiful warm day, so we planned to sit outside wherever we went, and when we walked into Peconic we were sure, as the inside area is quite small, with uncomfortable-looking stools at the bar. Outside, however, featured a roomy patio, with nice wooden chairs (maybe they could add seat cushions in the future?) and comfy Adirondack chairs grouped around fire pits. The fire pit areas, we were told, are all reserved already for “movie night,” when they will be showing Hocus Pocus. They also plan to have live music at various times. However, today we and one other couple were the only visitors, though Sam assured us it was busier on the weekends.
The menu offers a flight of three wines, called the “Crossroads Flight” for $18, and seemed to be limited to just the chardonnay, riesling, and red blend. However, Sam told us we could substitute any other wines if we preferred, and after she described the riesling as semi-sweet, we did prefer—not to have it—so we opted for the viognier instead. Good choice. After we shared the small flight, we decided we would like to sit and enjoy the beautiful afternoon a while longer, so we shared a glass of the sauvignon blanc and a bag of North Fork potato chips. The food menu features the usual cheese and charcuterie choices, as well as a chocolate tasting from Disset, a new fancy chocolatier in Cutchogue, and, on the weekends, local oysters. As we contemplate the menu, Sam brings us a carafe of chilled water, always a nice touch.
- 2020 Viognier $22
I get a touch of kerosene and metal when I sniff, but fortunately it tastes of pineapple, not gas! We like it. It is dry with nice fruit tastes, refreshing, and different from most North Fork wines.
- 2020 Chardonnay $25
Sam informs us that this is the “musque” clone of chardonnay grape, which I have not knowingly encountered before. In any event, the taste is quite distinct, a smooth, mellow sip that reminds me of thyme honey, though it is not sweet. Most local chardonnays have a citrus flavor, but this does not. The menu suggests pairing it with hard cheese, and I think it would go well with a truffle-infused pecorino we had from the Love Lane Cheese Shop recently.
- Horizon Red Blend $32
We decided to describe this as a “starter” red, or in other words a red for someone who is not yet into reds. It is light and dry, with soft tannins, and tastes of wood and cherry. Sam suggests calling it a “summer” red. A blend of 73% malbec, 18% merlot, and 9% cabernet sauvignon, the aroma, of cherry, wood, tobacco, and coffee, promises more than the wine delivers.
- 2020 Sauvignon Blanc
As I mentioned, we decided to share a glass of wine, and, based on a discussion with Sam, we opted for the sauvignon blanc, at $12 for a glass, plus a $4 bag of North Fork potato chips. Again, this is a different-tasting sb than the usual out here. It is mellow, not citrusy, with an almost thick mouth feel, and a trace of saltiness and fruit. We chuckle over the observation that it actually goes very well with the chips.
Reasons to visit: someplace new; nice outdoor area, with firepits for colder weather; local oysters on the weekend; the viognier and the sauvignon blanc; oh, and for $55 per person you can tour the vineyard in the Moke, an adorable electric vehicle that looks like a mini safari car, with tastings of three wines next to the vines where they grow.