The East End’s Finest
Kick off the season with our expert’s pick of the best local vintages
Paumanok Vineyards’s Assemblage 2005 ($40), a Bordeaux blend made only in great years and released in Grand Vintage bottling, is a stunning wine with vivid dark berry fruit flavors and mineral notes. Made from grapes grown on Paumanok’s 103-acre estate, Assemblage ages 18 months in French oak.
At Channing Daughters, an artisanal winery, Christopher Tracy has created a unique “orange wine,” the 2008 Envelope ($40), from Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer and Malvasia Bianca grapes fermented in their skins and aged in Slovenian oak. With big, heady aromas, the wine exudes exotic notes of lychee and papaya. Orange wine is the current obsession of hipster sommeliers.
At Wölffer Estate winemaker Roman Roth’s rich Merlot blend, the 2005 Lambardo Merlot ($35), is dark red, lush and sexy, with blackberry, cassis and chocolate flavors. During the first annual East End Harvest wine auction last September, a Lambardo '08 barrel sample at the halfbarrel level brought the highest bid: $11,000.
Lenz Winery specializes in wines made from old vines, going back to the winery’s founding in 1978. Winemaker Eric Fry has created a beautifully concentrated wine with dark flavors of plum and cherry in his Old Vines Merlot 2002 ($55), which received a 90 score from critic Robert Parker.
The third vintage of Bedell Cellars's Musée 2007 ($75), an age-worthy Right Bank Bordeaux blend, is yet another gorgeous, silkytextured, aromatically complex wine with notes ranging from black plum, currant and cocoa to exotic spice. Its heavy, dark glass bottle features a daguerreotype of grapes designed by artist Chuck Close, a Hamptons resident.
Made by French winemaker Gilles Martin, Sherwood House Vineyards’s Chardonnay 2007 ($30) is a Burgundianstyle wine with a lingering finish and notes of pear and hazelnut and wellintegrated light oak. The wine took gold at the 2010 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition in San Diego.