One Woman Winery: What’s in a Name?

April 14, 2023

What’s in a name?  In this case, the literal truth.  Claudia Purita planted, tends, harvests, and produces the wines herself—well, there’s some help, notably from her daughter who is often in the tasting room, but basically this is her show.  We saw the truth of this as we sat on the deck doing our tasting, when Ms. Purita and her daughter walked past us, schlepping a shelving unit into the tasting room, where they quickly set it up. 

And that careful supervision has resulted in some lovely wines.  But first, a few words about the tasting room—or should I say shack, as it is a tiny building with room for maybe half a dozen people to stand at the bar, surrounded by a small deck with room for maybe twenty more, plus some picnic tables on the grass.  The sign at the entrance asserts in big letters “NO BUSES, NO LIMOS, NO GROUPS OVER SIX PEOPLE,” because clearly, they just don’t have room.

Half of the petite tasting room.
And the other half!

We hadn’t visited the tasting room since before the pandemic, making do with bottles of the grüner veltliner from Vintage, the excellent liquor store in the Mattituck strip mall, so we were happy to head there on this warm, sunny day.  Maybe too warm—by the time I got to tasting the merlot, it was approaching deck temperature, which was 84 degrees.  In the summer they put up awnings, giving the deck some shade, but who expects 84 degrees in April?

In any event, our welcome was warm, and the young woman behind the bar greeted us and presented us with the menu of tastings, explaining our options, and assuring us that we could sit outside and she would be happy to bring our tastings to us.  There are two set flights, one dubbed “Regular,” of four wines for $20, and the other labeled “Reserve,” with four pricier wines for $30.  We could also have crafted our own lists for a little more, but we opted to share a Regular flight, as that seemed to offer a good range of wines we might likely buy.  They also have wines available by the glass.  We noted that they now offer an antipasto plate and bags of truffle potato chips, as well as a few non-alcoholic beverages and vodka, gin, and rye from Montauk Distilling.

Our flight was brought out in a cute little wooden box, with each wine and the order in which to drink them clearly labeled. Our server explained each wine, and then left us to our tasting, checking back a couple of times to see if we needed anything else.

  •  2019 Sauvignon Blanc   $25

Dry, crisp, with tastes of tropical fruit and tangerine, this is a perfect wine to sip on a porch on a hot day.  It has “some zip to it,” commented my tasting buddy.  It would go well with charcuterie.

The gruner. The pour was generous enough that we were happy to share one tasting.
  • 2020 Grüner Veltliner     $22

This is one of our favorite North Fork whites, and this vintage does not disappoint.  We taste Granny Smith apple and other fruit in this light but complex wine, which my husband dubs “tasty.”  We like to drink it with Chinese take-out, especially dumplings.

  • 2018 Chardonnay             $25

Our server notes that this is aged, half in oak and half in steel, making it the “best of both worlds.”  I don’t care for it, and leave it for my fellow taster to finish.  To me, it has a chemical smell and taste, almost like the chlorine in a swimming pool.  That may not be a good thing, my husband quips, “but at least it keeps the place clean.”  He likes it, so maybe it’s just some quirk of my taste buds!

The view of the vines. One year, a hailstorm decimated her crop, but Ms. Purita has persevered.
  • 2915 Merlot       $25

As our server foretold, this is a typical North Fork merlot, with lots of cherry flavor and aroma. It has some light tannins, and would go great with a burger or pasta dish.  My buddy notes it has a lot of body, but I wonder whether that’s a perception based on how warm it has gotten. We sit back and finish our wine—he has the chard, and I have the merlot—as we listen to some pleasant, soft guitar music.  I thought about getting a glass of something else, but we really need to get out of the sun, so perhaps we’ll come back another day to try some other wines.

A view of Ms. Purita’s daughter, working in the tasting room.

Reasons to visit:  an intimate setting where you may get to meet the owner/winemaker; the sauvignon blanc, the grüner veltliner, the merlot; a relaxed vibe. We buy a bottle of the grüner and another of the merlot to take home.

Wining at Home

March 10, 2021

With the approach of spring and COVID vaccines, I begin to feel more hopeful.  Maybe some day we will even feel comfortable going to a winery or brewery for a tasting.  Meanwhile, it occurred to me to mention that I have not been neglecting local wines throughout the lockdown.  Vintage Wines and Spirits, the excellent liquor store in Mattituck, not only carries a reasonable selection of local wines, they also deliver—for free, if you live in Mattituck or thereabouts.  Their web page turns out to be easy to navigate, so ever since we have been avoiding going out, we have been ordering cases of local wines and liquor for delivery.

One delivery made me appreciate how nice it is to live in a small town.  As we unpacked our case, I realized that they had given us a bottle of sweet vermouth instead of the dry vermouth my husband needs for his Gibson martinis.  Uh oh.  I called, and they said, “Oh, one of our guys lives near you.  Just leave the sweet vermouth on your porch and we’ll swap it for the dry.”  Which they did.

I’ve made a point of ordering local wines, all in the $15-25 range, which makes them appropriate for everyday drinking.  On an irregular basis, I’ll be posting notes on those wines.  Here’s the first post:

Bedell 2019 Merlot

Bedell wins in the elegant design category for their bottles and, in this case, for the wine.  Merlot is the most prevalent red out here, and it can range from tasting like Cheracol cough syrup to having just a touch of cherry flavor.  This merlot fits into the latter category. It is dry, a bit tannic, with some cherry but not overly fruity, with a long finish.  It would go well with lamb chops, but we happily drank it with our vegetarian chili on spaghetti.  It cost about $20.

Sherwood House 2016 Red Blend

If I were tasting this at the winery, I’d be asking “a blend of what?”  And sometimes the server knows, and sometimes she doesn’t.  It may include some cabernet franc, and probably some merlot, though it’s not particularly complex.  It’s dry, with soft tannins, perfectly drinkable with tonight’s pork chops, but, according to my lock-down companion, “I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.”  I think it is tasty.  It has, by the way, a screw top, which has the advantage of being easy to open.