November 3, 2021
From the outside, the winery that used to be called Martha Clara looks much the same, but as soon as we stepped inside, we saw that it looks very different. And once we tasted the wines, made by winemaker Lilia Perez, we knew that it was not at all the same. I find it so interesting that the same grapes, grown in the same vineyard, can yield such different-tasting wines. Martha Clara’s wines, for example, definitely tended to feature some sweetness, while the RG wines (named for the Rivero Gonzàlez family) we tasted were dry.
The shop inside the entrance used to have all sorts of items, including snacks, while now it is much simpler, with just the RG wines and a few Mexican items, such as baskets. Then we walked into the large tasting room, which used to feature a huge bar, which more or less snaked through the entire room. Now the bar is only on one side, with the rest of the space taken up by some small round tables with comfy chairs and some couches. The walls are bare, and the overall effect is rather stark. I think they could do more to warm up the space, and suggested to my husband that a pot-bellied stove would be a nice focal point. He looked skeptical. The side room (where the restrooms are located) is still pretty similar, filled with tables and chairs.
We were greeted by a friendly server who asked us if we had a reservation. We looked around the large room, empty except for one other couple, and asked in mock concern, “Oh no, should we have made one? Will you have room for us?” She laughed, as did we, and explained that she actually had three reservations for that afternoon, and so wanted to be sure that she honored the process. (Quite a few wineries are continuing their pandemic-caused practice of requiring reservations, so be sure you check websites before you go.) Then she presented us with a QR code to scan in order to read the menu.
We had intended to sit at the bar, but found the chairs there not comfortable, and so moved to a table, where we liked the chairs very much. We recently had been shopping for new dining room chairs, and my husband commented that these would have worked nicely. The menu features three different flights, labelled Scielo, White, and RG. The RG flight, for $22, seemed the most varied, so we opted to share it. We were glad we were sharing, since the pour, of four wines, is quite generous, and we actually left over some wine! There’s also a short but creative menu of food items, including chicken tacos, a Mexican PB&J, and paletas, which, Google informed me, are a kind of Mexican ice pop.
With our flight she brought a bottle of water and two cups, a nice touch, and asked if there was anything else we wanted. We asked her to turn down the very loud music, which she immediately did. Whew. Then later, I asked about the vintages of the wines, since that information was not anywhere to be seen.
- 2019 Sparkling Rosé $30
Sometimes sparkling rosés are too sweet, but this one is just right, with a refreshing taste of strawberries and pink grapefruit and moderate bubbles. We like this, and decide that if we wanted a celebratory pink wine, we might get this one.
- 2018 Viognier $33
Many of the wineries on the North Fork that grow viognier use it in blends, so I don’t often see it on its own. Again, this is a dry wine, mouth-watering, with tastes of spice and pears. The aroma is a bit funky, with some scent of stewed pears. We like it.
- 2018 White Merlot $32
White merlot? You may ask, I thought merlot was a red wine grape. And so it is. But if you ferment it without the skins, you get a white wine. Anthony Nappa used to make a wine called Anomaly, a white pinot noir, which we liked very much. This is also good, and is a nice, light, good sipping white, though not very interesting. I say it tastes like gooseberries. Some day I will buy gooseberries again and see if the taste I remember is correct…
- 2019 Cabernet Franc $37
Lovely aroma—chocolate covered cherries! This is another easy to drink wine, with soft tannins, dry, and a flavor that makes me think of dried fruit compote, or maybe stewed prunes (which I happen to like very much).
Reasons to visit: large venue with plenty of room for groups, including outside areas; pleasant wines and a large pour; the sparkling rosé and the viognier, though all the wines were easy to drink; an interesting food menu.