Drinking and Eating Locally on the North Fork, Winter Edition
We stayed in one of the four well-appointed, rooms at the Shinn Vineyard’s Farmhouse. I have an aversion to Victorian bed and breakfasts and Shinn’s asthetic clean-lined, but warm, sensibility suited me perfectly. The main farmhouse dates back to the 1880′s but the renovation transformed the space beautifully, marrying the classic lines of the country farmhouse with a more modern vision. It was very comfortable, with beautiful linens, quality furniture, and fluffy robes. When you arrive, you get a glass of wine and some cheese with which to unwind and take it all in.
The best part of the inn, however, is the huge, delicious breakfasts that they make each morning at 9:30 sharp. They provided a necessary stomach base for full days of wine tasting. Ah, there is no better way to spend a winter weekend, in my book.
Some thoughts on the vineyards we went to:
- Peconic Bay: really high quality wines across the board; I loved the crisp white blends and unoaked chardonnay
- Shinn: You get to try the whole list for free when you stay at the inn, and we chose to try a little each day. I particularly liked their Haven Sauvignon Blanc, the Wild Boar Doe (their take on a Bordeaux blend), and the crazy unfiltered Pinot Noir; these guys are one of the best vineyards out there and getting better every year.
- Pelligrini: not impressed; tart and chalky reds
- Castello Borghese: Excellent wines across the board but exceptional Riesling, unoaked chardonanny and cab franc; one of the only pinot noirs in the North Fork but the reserve is worlds better than the estate pinot and much more expensive
- Pugliese: don’t ever, ever go here unless you are a fan of over-perfumed staff and cloyingly sweet wines. Oh and they have the nerve to call their sparkling wines “Champagne”; I couldn’t leave fast enough. This was the only real clunker of the weekend.
- Lenz- the best bargain on the NoFo; a well-crafted floral Guwertiz with a dry finkish; all of the Old Vine wines have a depth of character not usually found in NoFo wines; Excellent cabs for a great price
- Bedell: Love their Taste White with the cool Barbara Kruger label and they make solid, well-crafted wines, but I find them over-priced and overly tannic for my taste
- Lieb: Very good Pinot Blanc that Wine Spectator awarded them a 89; they do a series of “charitable” wines (they benefit various charities) that are really quite drinkable and a bargain to boot.
- Palmer: seriously mediocre wines and sometimes downright bad
North Fork Table and Inn:
Village Cheese: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-village-cheese-shop-mattituck
Thoughts on my summer visit to the North Fork: