May 10, 2022
After a stroll through Greenport, admiring the blooming cherry trees and checking out which stores were open (many are closed on Tuesdays), we headed to the “Founding Vineyard,” Castello di Borghese.
The last time we were there was February 9, 2020, just before the world shut down. When we shared this fact with our server, she told us about her experience of working in the tasting room during that time. Right around St. Patrick’s Day, she recalled, they had a huge influx of people from the city, who all commented on how happy they were to find something open, where they could gather and socialize. We were ready to close for the night, she remembered, but the people didn’t want to leave. By the next day, she began to worry, and helped scrub down the place. Then they closed, then reopened only for curbside pickup, when they actually had a very profitable time, as people were buying bottles and cases.
When it was time to offer tastings again, they spent some time figuring out how to manage serving flights, since previously most of their service was to people standing at the bar, chatting and getting their tastes one at a time. Finally, they decided to use little plastic baskets and clear plastic cups, with the variety written on paper inside the basket, under each cup. She noted that she felt bad about all the plastic they were now using, and I suggested she look into the corn-based plastic used by Old Field, which she promised to do.
We were sitting at a table in the large room they now use for tastings, which was lined with paintings by local artist Patricia Feiler, whose paintings of seascapes and blossoming cherry trees felt very familiar. Once again, we were the only customers—until, as we were leaving, another couple arrived—so we took our time to sip and discuss each wine. Our server asked us if we would like some pretzels, and when we said yes supplied us with two little bags of them. They do allow outside food. They also seem to allow dogs, since as we entered, we met Herbie, the owner’s classic black dog, and very friendly he was indeed.
They have two flight options: Classic, of two whites, a rosé (picked from three options), and two reds; or the Red Flight, which has many of their more expensive reserve wines, of five reds. We opted to share a Classic Flight, which she brought to us in a little plastic basket. She also thoughtfully gave us each a glass so we could easily share each taste by pouring it into the glass. Since it was a slow day, she treated us to all three rosés, which is why I can comment on them in this piece.
- 2020 Sauvignon Blanc $29
This is a fairly typical NoFo sauvignon blanc, with some citrus and almost-ripe pear taste, crips, dry, and summery. It has a pleasant floral aroma with a touch of ginger.
- 2020 Chardonnay $25
My tasting buddy thinks this and the sauvignon blanc are a little sweet, but I counter that what he sees as sweet is fruity, and he says, “I’ll accept that,” then adds, “It borders on sweet.” We agree that this steel-fermented chard is good, with tart peach flavor (they say nectarine and starfruit), but not outstanding.
- Fleurette Rosé $18
The menu describes this blend of merlot and chardonnay as an “aperitif wine,” and “off-dry.” I can agree with both descriptions, and could see sipping this somewhat sweet wine with charcuterie, where the sweetness of the wine would be balanced by the saltiness of the meat. It is relatively complex for a rosé, with tastes of ripe cantaloupe and lemon zest. It smells sort of melon-y, too.
- 2020 Rosé of Merlot $22
“I could see sitting on the deck and sipping this after a day at the beach,” opines my husband, and I agree. This has the typical strawberry aroma and flavor of most local rosés, with again a touch of citrus. I say that people who like sweet wine would not call this sweet, he adds “enough.”
- 2021 Rosé Pinot Noir $50
I had to check the price list twice, since I can’t see any reason why this rosé costs so much. My buddy describes it as “zippy,” and I add that it is very dry and citrusy, with almost no aroma. Sophisticated? Maybe.
- 2017 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon $25
Nice. Is that damning with faint praise? It is a light, bright, and pleasant red, with aromas of cedar and black cherry and tastes of cherry, too. I think it would be better with food, like roast chicken. Or a hot dog, offers my pal.
- 2020 Reserve Cabernet Franc $44
Like all the wines we have sampled today, this is very drinkable but not outstanding. It has a delicious aroma of blackberry jam and spice, and has nice dark fruit tastes, with soft tannins.
Reasons to Visit: calm, laid-back place with pleasant wines; art gallery featuring various local artist shows; you can bring a picnic and your dog (certainly outside); the chardonnay, the Fleurette (though it is a bit sweet), and the merlot/cabernet sauvignon blend.