September 8, 2021
Many wineries offer visitors the opportunity to join their wine club. We have limited ourselves to two—Channing Daughters and Pellegrini—but I’ve often read the brochures of other places. I can certainly see the advantages of wine clubs, both for the members and the wineries. As a member, you get a regular—usually quarterly—supply of wines from a winery you have liked, plus various perks, including free tastings and/or glasses of wine, reduced prices on bottles, and invitations to or reduced prices on various events at your chosen winery, such as musical performances or catered meals. And the winery, obviously, has a guaranteed income stream, plus a loyal following. Win/win.
Living on the North Fork offers the added convenience of needing only a short drive to pick up one’s wine club selections—though I think all of them also will mail your selections to you, subject to the laws in your state.
Another perk of living on the North Fork is the fascination of watching the vines go from winter dormancy to spring bud break to fall ripening. Right now, the vines are beautiful. The little newsletter which came with our club choices describes what is happening to the grapes now:
“Veraison refers to the time when the grapes begin turning color and the vines start to transport their energy from their roots into the grapes. During this period of ripening, the acid levels in the grapes fall (particularly malic acid which leaves tartaric acid as the primary acid) and hexose sugars (glucose, fructose) begin to accumulate in the grape. The chlorophyll in the berries is replaced by carotenoids in white varieties and xanthophylls in the reds. The end result is that the fruit begins to get more flavorful, colorful, concentrated, and sweeter, which is crucial to making delicious wine!”
We took our four tastes to what we now think of as “our” table, out on the front lawn, on this warm, breezy day, and had a pleasant time, despite the traffic going by on Main Road. Two other small groups sat nearby, drinking glasses of wine. The courtyard was tented yet again, and the server noted they’d had two weddings the past weekend, and another was scheduled for the weekend to come. We took care to try wines we’d not had the last time—easy given the menu of fourteen wines.
*2019 Gewürztraminer $24.99
This is probably the hardest wine to spell, and also one that is not always easy to like. I liked this one, but my tasting buddy did not, proclaiming it “too sweet.” I insisted that what he was calling sweet was actually fruitiness, and said I tasted gooseberries. He disclaimed any knowledge of what gooseberries taste like. We both agreed that the aroma was agreeably fruity, and there was a definite citrus flavor, like a sweetish lemon. I noted some minerality on the finish, and that it would be good with spicy food.
*2020 REJOYCE $24.99
A blend of 65% chardonnay and 35% sauvignon blanc, this wine has a pleasant smell of freshly cut grass plus metal. It’s definitely not sweet, with flavors of lemon (a lot) and cucumber. It would be good with oysters or clams.
*2015 Cabernet Sauvignon $69.99
According to the description on the placemat, this wine spends 19 months in French oak—which might have been a bit too much. It is quite oaky, with some berry taste, but I compared it to chewing on tree bark. My husband said it was “tangy.” The aroma is of sweet berries and tobacco. Maybe it needs to age longer.
*2020 East End Select Barbeque Red $24.99
Made from 100% petit verdot grapes, but aged in steel rather than oak, this is, as the name suggests, intended as a more casual wine. I taste berries and plums, and assert it is dry. My tasting buddy and I diverge again, as he insists it is too sweet. I argue that he’s seeing fruit, once again, as sweetness. “Not in my mouth!” he replies. Well, that’s wine tasting for you. Disagreement is perfectly acceptable. He also notes that he could see drinking this with cheese during cocktail hour, but not with a meal.
Reasons to visit: good all-around winery; snacks allowed; they also sell the North Fork merlot, chardonnay, and rosé, all well-priced reliable everyday wines ($30 for three big bottles); the gewürztraminer, REJOYCE, and BBQ Red.