Before dining at the North Fork Table & Inn for our first anniversary, Carlos and I visited a few wineries, including Lenz Winery, Bedell Cellars, Peconic Bay, and Waters Crest-all located on the North Fork, far from where we honeymooned a year ago, when we toured Sonoma, Mendocino, and Anderson and Alexander Valleys on the west coast. And because we zipped in and out of Lenz and Waters Crest without inspiration, I devote this post to the wines and locals that did incite our delight.
Once a potato barn, built in 1919, the tasting room at Bedell Cellars was named one of the top 25 tasting rooms in America by Wine Enthusiast magazine. An elegant site with white washed cathedral ceilings and walls that house the art collection of Bedell’s owner, Michael Lynne, the tasting room is adjacent to the Pavillion, a large mahaogany deck overlooking the vineyards and surrounded by flowers and herbs, a harmonious setting that is nothing short of divine.
The wines certainly live up the expectations one acquires when passing through the door, and since their Musée was not on the tasting list, we settled for the $8 Estate pouring that offered one white, one rosé, and two reds.
The 2007 First Crush White, 88% Chardonnay and 12% Viognier, complimented the oysters we shucked at Portland Head Light, in Maine. A shade of pale green straw, this wine was full of peach and minerality on the nose and somewhat floral with a touch of light spice. The steely texture showed clear that this vintage was aged in nothing but stainless, and though not quite a steal at $18, it was worth every cent.
Corey Creek, the sister winery of Bedell, makes an excellent rosé, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Light salmon in color and full of light and tangy fruit, this smooth rosé possessed watermelon on the nose and finished dry-the perfect accompaniment to any sunset.
I regret having arrived at Peconic Bay a year too late. By mistake, I was poured a taste of their 2005 Steel Fermented Chardonnay, pale and steely, minerally, and slightly bitter, this lovely wine lingered long, but not long enough to stay in stock. After being told that (oops!) that was their last bottle, I was offered their 2006 vintage, which was like being served a tropical fruit salad when I really wanted skate. What a difference a year can make! Fruity and slightly tangy (star fruit), this vintage was the victim of too much rain…if only I could turn back the clock.
The 2006 Riesling suffered a similar result. The petrol on the nose couldn’t save this one, which was much too sweet, almost syrupy; a far cry from the 2005 vintage, which I’d enjoyed in the spring at Brooklyn Uncorked! Unfortunately, they were out of that one too.
Like most of the reds I’d tasted on the North Fork, theirs were a little too green.
If independently wealthy, I would have a purchased a bottle of their dessert wine, Polaris ($45), with aromas of apricot and peach. Thick and sweet with a bit of pineapple, this wine would make an excellent martini when poured with vodka, or so I was told (and teased). Empty handed, I passed through the door, my senses lingering on what could have been.