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Corks of the Forks: July Releases from LI Wineries

Here's a look at the wines released by local wineries in July.

Anthony Nappa Wines 2010 Bordo Cabernet Franc ($20)

This fresh red — Nappa’s first under his own label — is named Bordo after the traditional Italian name for the cabernet franc grape. Made using ambient yeasts and without any additives (sugar, acid, etc.) it is a pure, surprisingly complex expression of the cabernet franc grape. It is surprisingly mouth-filling for an un-oaked red and offers layers of red berry, anise, sweet herbs and vegetable garden — in only good ways.

Channing Daughters Winery 2010 Sylvanus ($24)

Brightly aromatic and beautifully floral, this citrusy dry blend of 60% muscat, 30% pinot grigio and 10% pinot bianco (also known as pinot blanc) is named for the vineyard where all the grapes are grown. Made a true field blend, the grapes are harvested and processed together at the same time. Most local white blends are made with wines that are made individually and then blended before bottling. 

Channing Daughters Winery 2010 Ramato ($20)

Ramato translates as ‘copper’ in Italian and this 100% pinot grigio’s name matches its orange-copper color precisely. Why is it orange? It's simple, sort of — it's a white wine made like a red one. Most whites are made by crushing grapes and then removing the juice from the skins immediately (or nearly so). That nearly colorless juice is then fermented. Orange wines are white wines fermented on the grape skins, which extracts color, tannins and aromas from those skins. This isn’t your mother’s pinot grigio — it’s intense and spicy with far more texture and mouthfeel. Many orange wines are expensive, making this entry-level orange wine even more special.

Duck Walk  Vineyards 2010 Pinot Grigio ($14.95)

The winery calls this a “No mild-mannered wine,” adding that it starts with aromas of peach that lead into a palate that shows grapefruit, light pineapple notes and a lingering peach flavor. They suggest pairing it with seafood and salads, also calling it “a perfect porch time wine!”

Lenz Winery 2008 Blanc de Noir ($15)

Blanc de noir means ‘white of black’ and is often used to describe white sparkling wines made from red grapes. In this case, it’s a still rosé wine made entirely with estate-grown pinot noir. Tart and somewhat citrusy at first, it softens on the mid-palate with strawberry and red cherry flavors.

Macari Vineyards 2010 Rose ($15)

This merlot-heavy (70%) rosé is also made with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes.  The winery describes it as having “aromas of red fruits, watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, cherry and red currant.” On the palate, they find “freshness… with hints of red fruits, sour cherry, citrus, bright acidity and dry, long finish.”

Macari Vineyards 2010 “Katherine’s Field” Sauvignon Blanc ($23) 

A new winemaker — and a hot, dry growing season — have combined to make this wine a fine expression of Long Island and 2010. It’s intense and fruity on the nose, with sweet Meyer lemon and pink grapefruit with somewhat tropical aromas, accented bits of hay and sweet herbs. Ripe and forward, but balanced with softer acidity, the palate shows similar sweet lemon-grapefruit citrus character, but with distinct tropical fruit flavors of guava and papaya joining the party. The herbal qualities are still evident, but much less so.

Martha Clara Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir ($24.99)

You won’t find a lot of pinot noir on Long Island — it’s particularly difficult to grow here — but there are some interesting, food-friendly versions around.  The winery says that this wine offers “Cherries, with hints of almond on the nose … with hints of cocoa. The palate offers delicate flavors of soft berry fruits framed by a soft and elegant tannin structure.” They also recommend pairing it with herb-roasted or grilled chicken, light summer pasta, grilled salmon and/or grilled vegetables.

Paumanok Vineyards 2010 Grand Vintage Chardonnay ($36)

Closed under screwcap, this wine challenges the notion that high-end wines meant to age gracefully need to be bottled with a traditional cork. Winemaker Kareem Massoud describes this wine : “Offers aromas of yellow apple, lemon zest, toast, yeast and butterscotch and subtle floral notes. On the palate it is dry with flavors of toast, apple, pear and lemon. Pair it with white fish and poultry dishes. While it drinks well now, it will benefit from cellaring.” I concur and would highlight a subtle but distinct lavender note on the finish.

Raphael 2009 Cabernet Franc ($24)

Aged for a full year in a combination old French oak and stainless steel tanks, this is made in what the winery considers the “emerging style of the North Fork.” They describe the wine as having “dark black fruit flavors of cassis and black cherry, with aromas of rosemary, violets and liquorices, and soft, chewy tannins make this Cabernet Franc a rich, elegant red wine that will compliment any cuisine.”

Sherwood House Vineyards 2006 Sherwood Manor ($45)

The traditional producer’s flagship wine, this is a blend of 44% merlot, 48% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot that was aged in French oak barrels for 14 months, resulting in a “complex wine (that) shows delicate aromas of truffle, dark chocolate, black currant and oak. On the palate, the wine shows pepper, ripe strawberries and vanilla. Silky tannins and a fine balance between earth and fruit linger to a long, soft finish,” according to the winery. They suggest decanting this wine for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Waters Crest Winery 2010 Dry Riesling ($20)

Drier than many locally produced rieslings, the latest from Jim Waters — made with juice from the Finger Lakes — is more reminiscent of traditional rieslings from Alsace or even Austria than of German counterparts. According to Waters “The nose displays slate and shale with a complex minerality and a slight hint of lemon zest. The mouth feel has layers of wonderful fruit that hit your mid palette with great acidic vibrancy finishing with long-lasting slate and delicate minerality.” Waters has a way with riesling, so the 110 cases he made likely won’t last long.

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