We braved the crowds that had come to the North Fork for the Mattituck Strawberry Festival and the rain that had arrived that afternoon for an excursion to Clovis Point Wines. Now, if you Google Clovis point you will find yourself looking at arrowheads, and wondering what the connection is. In fact, Clovis point does refer to a type of arrowhead, examples of which have been found on the North Fork, hence the name.
The winery nods to the past of the area in another way, housing its tasting room in a converted potato barn, but the wines are thoroughly modern. The servers alternated between quite friendly and enthusiastic and rather pleasant but business-like. The bar area was fairly quiet because all the action was outside on the covered porch, where a country and western band was entertaining tables full of people sipping wine and eating snacks, some bought from the winery (a menu features cheeses, sausage, and other small snacks for about $10) and others brought in. (A sign permits outside food, but requests “no coolers.”) Once before we had come especially for a musical performance, which we had enjoyed. Clovis Point describes itself as a “boutique” winery, and a sign outside forbids all limos.
The menu features five wines for $13 or the three whites for $7 and the two reds for $5. We opted to share one tasting of all five wines, not actually a bargain! Due to the tiny pour, we had to be quite judicious in our sharing. I found the small pour interesting in that the servers rinsed our glass with a bit of the wine we were about to taste each time, a nice touch but it seemed a shame to pour out almost as much as we tasted.
- 2014 Stainless Chardonnay $21
Although it is called chardonnay, this is also 3% gewürztraminer, which we felt contributed a slightly funky note to what is otherwise a fairly typical clean, crisp, lemony steel chard. It was fine, but we felt would be better with food.
- Rosé $21
In general, we compare all rosés to Croteaux, and find them wanting, but we quite liked this one. It spends three days on the skins, and so has a deeper red and more intense flavor than many rosés. This is made from 97% cabernet franc and 3% merlot. The aroma is typically strawberry and watermelon, with a nice minerality. The taste also recalls strawberry, and is a touch on the sweet side, but the minerality makes the sweetness work.
- 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay $27
After ten months in French oak, this wine smells like vanilla and Werther’s candies, but is happily not as sweet as the smell would indicate. A hint of lemon juice makes this a sippable wine, not as oaky as a California chard. My tasting pal opines that this is not a challenge to drink.
- 2013 Cabernet Franc $35
A blend of 94% cabernet franc, 3% cabernet sauvignon, and 3% merlot, this wine has a somewhat smoky, almost coffee aroma. The taste has some smokiness to it too, but not obnoxiously so. Though it is dry and brambly, we think it might do better with more age.
- 2010 Vintner’s Select Merlot $45
A Right Bank Bordeaux-style wine, this is a blend of 86% merlot, 7% cabernet sauvignon, 4.5 % cabernet franc, and 3% malbec, says the menu. If you can add, you’ll note that that adds up to 100.5—and actually, the menu lists the percentage of cab franc as 45%! Oops. I’m a liberal arts major, says our server as an excuse, and promises to fix the menu right away. Regardless, this is also a wine that may need more time, as we find it a bit on the thin side, with lots of tannins and some blackberry taste. It might do well with a cheese platter, however.
Reasons to visit: a nice place to listen to music; the rosé; the 2013 Barrel Chardonnay if you like oaked chards; pleasant quiet tasting room.