December 3, 2021
Friends who are also relatively new to the North Fork—actually, unless you can trace your ancestry back at least several local generations, you are considered a newbie—invited us to do a members’ tasting at Macari Vineyards with them. We accepted happily, since Macari now requires reservations to do a tasting and we hadn’t bothered to do so. The last time we were there was October of 2019, so it was certainly time to return.
The sun was shining brightly, but the wind was cold, so we hustled inside, where we were escorted to an enclosed porch area, well heated by blowers, with chairs draped with furry throws.
Each table was set with a placemat containing five circles listing wines, and three glasses. As our friends explained, a tasting consists of any three of the five listed wines, with wine club members having a few additional choices. Our waitress brought over all the wines currently on offer, and gave each of us our selected tastes, and then took our order for snacks. We got truffled potato chips, crackers and hummus, and a little cheese tray, which she characterized as a single serving, but which, with everything else, was more than enough. The chips are addictive, and the serving is large, so I definitely recommend them. The hummus was also very good, liberally sprinkled with za’atar, but the cheese tray was rather small, consisting of a chunk of brie, three slices of cheddar, a tiny jar of fig jam, and a few Marcona almonds, slices of salami, and bread.
As we sipped and munched, we engaged in getting to know each other better, and I learned to my astonishment that my new friends had been to wineries in all 48 contiguous states! They hadn’t set out to do so, but after happening to visit wineries in eleven states a friend told them to keep going, so they did. I was astonished to learn there was a winery in Wyoming, and many in Texas. Mississippi? I asked. Yes. Iowa? Uh huh. I am sure there are many stories to come of their odysseys. Meanwhile, we discussed the North Fork winery scene, and exchanged names of our favorites.
We enjoyed the Macari wines, though, due to being caught up in conversation, my notes are a bit sketchier than usual. I particularly liked the wines labelled “Life Force,” their descriptor for wines aged in concrete “eggs,” rather than wood.
- 2020 Life Force Sauvignon Blanc $28
Sometimes sauvignon blanc can be a bit sharp, but clearly aging in a concrete egg cures that. This is a nicely rounded wine, with an aroma of honeysuckle, and smooth citrus tastes. I like it.
- 2019 Cabernet Franc $38
This is a light, slightly spicy cab franc, with few tannins. My friend noted it, “Left me flat,” and I agreed. However, my husband had opted for the Life Force Cabernet Franc, which I liked much better.
- Life Force Cabernet Franc $30
This was quite different, with more berry taste and aroma. I would definitely choose this one.
- 2017 Dos Aguas $35
The name of this—and also a white blend—refers to the “two waters” of the North Fork, a factor both in the breezes we feel and the moderating of the climate. This is a Bordeaux-type blend of 60% merlot, 16% cabernet sauvignon, 15% petit verdot, and 9% cabernet franc. I would have easily guessed at the merlot, because it has a definite cherry flavor and aroma, plus a touch of tobacco from the oak aging. Nice tannins, and a better than average North Fork red.
- 2017 Syrah $45
Though it has a very promising aroma, I found the taste somewhat disappointing, and commented that there was not much to it.
- 2015 Petit Verdot (no price listed, since it is in short supply)
This was my favorite of the day, a wine aged two years in oak and quite delicious. Petit verdot is most often used in a Bordeaux-stye blend, but I often like it on its own. It had some interesting depth of flavor, some nice spice and fruit taste. We like it so much that we order a bottle while we continue chatting and snacking.
Reasons to visit: pleasant porch seating with beautiful décor; nice view out to the vines; some good snacks, especially the truffled potato chips and the hummus; the Life Force wines, in particular the sauvignon blanc and the cabernet franc; the petit verdot, if it hasn’t sold out yet.