February 15, 2022
The first time we went to Pindar, years ago, we did not like many of the wines we tasted. However, in recent years, we have found much more to our liking, so on this chilly winter afternoon we brought two friends with us to do a tasting. It took some thought to decide where to go with them, since we have taken them to a number of wineries and breweries over the years. However, the breweries were off our list, since in the winter many of them are closed mid-week, or only open late in the day. We also wanted somewhere we could sit at a table and chat as we sipped, and where we didn’t need to make a reservation. If we had wanted to bring our own snacks, Pindar allows that, plus they also allow dogs, a piece of information we are storing for later.
Aside from one couple, who left, we had the place to ourselves, and we joked with our friends, did they like that we had reserved a winery for their tasting. That’s midweek in February for you. Gina, our server, was very pleasant, and patiently answered our friend’s many questions, asked us how we were liking our tastings, brought us cups of water, and gave advice as to which wines to pick from their long list, based on our preferences. And I do mean long—thirty wines in all! That included three reserve reds, which usually cost extra, but, since she had the bottles open, she offered to include them in our standard flight of five. How nice.
Pindar’s tasting room is in a converted barn, which has been expanded over the years, still retaining its rustic beams, with a gorgeous stained-glass window. One not so pleasant note—the restrooms are in a separate structure, a cold walk outside in the winter, though it wouldn’t matter in the summer. Maybe they should consider adding indoor facilities!
I suggest choosing your flight carefully, as some of their wines are too sweet for our taste, but we were happy with today’s selections. We shared three tastings amongst us, with some overlap. The tastes arrived in rustic wooden boxes, clearly labeled as to the order in which to drink them.
- Premier Cuvée Brut $32.99
More and more North Fork wineries are offering sparkling wines, some made with the “méthode champenoise,” so I was curious to try theirs. This was a nice, dry, sparkler, with lots of bubbles and some pear taste and smell. 100% chardonnay.
- Dr. Dan’s Extra Dry $29.99
“Dr. Dan” refers to the founder of Pindar—and also Duck Walk—Dr. Dan Damianos, who died in 2014, one of the East End wine pioneers. His family have continued to run his wineries, though his son, Jason, who started Jason’s Vineyard, died in a car accident in 2017. Made from a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, this is another sparkling wine, but we didn’t like it as much. It has some green apple taste, but also a touch of something chemical.
- 2020 Viognier $21.99
We decided to steer clear of the sweeter whites, so we opted for the viognier, but found it too light, with again, a bit of a chemical aroma. It’s not bad, but there’s not much to it.
- 2020 Sunflower Chardonnay $21.98
According to Gina, this is one of their most popular whites, and I can see why. It is very lightly oaked, so there are only traces of vanilla, with some nice citrus flavor and a lovely floral aroma. However, again, it is very light, though I think it would be nice with seafood, like the steamed lobsters we plan to pick up at Braun’s later.
- 2020 Gamay Noir $21.99
The ever-attentive Gina informs us that this is their lightest red, and she is right, though is is quite tasty. This would be a good red for someone who thinks they don’t like reds. It has a red lollipop smell, and lots of berry taste. It could go with roast chicken, like a Beaujolais.
- 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon $18.99
I teach our friends the word “petrichor,” which, I say, is the smell of this wine. Though it is dry, it is also very light, and we don’t care for it.
- 2017 Cabernet Franc $21.99
In contrast, this red smells lovely, like a dried fruit compote, and tastes like slightly under-ripe purple plums. Quite drinkable, and we sense some nice tannins.
- 2017 Syrah $18.99
This was in my friend’s tasting, so I only got a small sip, but she compares the taste to “burnt toast.” I say black tea?
- 2017 Tannat $21.99
I don’t think anyone else on the North Fork grows this grape, which usually comes from the Basque area. It had a lovely flowery smell, like violets. It is not unpleasant to drink, but my friend says the taste reminds her of “canned plum tomatoes,” and theorizes it would be a good wine to add to a ragu Bolognese.
- Pythagoras $18.99
You may have noted that some of the wine names are a nod to the Damianos family’s Greek roots, like this one, named for the founder of that theorem you had to memorize in high school. This is a Bordeaux blend—perhaps of three grapes? —hence the name. I insist that this smells like that white paste we used to use in elementary school, and which some kids—not me! –liked to taste. As it sits and we chat, it develops a better taste and smell, with some good berry flavor.
- 2019 Mythology $$42.99
This wine, and the two which follow, are categorized as reserve red wines, and normally cost an extra $4.00 per taste. We are happy to try it, and find it good, drinkable, with nice tannins which make me think it could be cellared, but not worth the cost.
- 2019 Merlot Reserve $34.99
This had typical merlot cherry flavor and aroma, though it is not as big a wine as one would expect from one labeled reserve.
- 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $34.99
It seems we saved the best for last, as we all agree we like this one the most. It has an intriguing aroma of forest floor and berries, and plenty of interesting dark fruit flavors.
Reasons to visit: informal tasting room, with lots of room at the bar and plenty of outdoor space; they allow picnics and dogs; the Premier Cuvée Brut, Sunflower Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (plus others we did not taste if you like sweeter wines); many different wines to fit different palates; if you live elsewhere, they ship to forty states.