Over The Barrell: Wolffer Estate Vineyards

Wolffer Estate Vineyards
Wolffer Estate Vineyards

The Whites and Rosés of Wölffer Estate

Wölffer Estate Vineyards is one of the most-recognized names in Long Island wine – and with good reason, extending beyond its wide distribution and the region’s first $100 wine. For years, winemaker Roman Roth has crafted many of the area’s top Merlots, Cabernet Francs and Chardonnays.

But even with all of those top bottlings, the wine that he, and the estate, is best known for? Rosé.

Wölffer Estate’s rosé is the wine of the Hamptons. You’ll find it on beaches, at poolsides and in restaurants all along the South Fork. To many Hamptonites, Long Island wine means Wölffer and its rosé. [expand]

From year to year, the rosé varies a bit in its composition. The 2010 edition Wölffer Estate Vineyards 2010 Rosé ($16) is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%), Chardonnay (14%) and Pinot Noir (7%).

The nose is peachy with hints of lime-citrus, kiwi fruit and wild strawberry. In the mouth, you’ll find the same peach-citrus-kiwi quality. There is nice acidity here that keeps the palate fresh and lively – just what we’ve come to expect from the Wölffer rosé. It’s best suited to fill in for white wines both at the table and not.

Roth also recently released the Wölffer Estate Vineyards 2010 Classic White ($15), an affordable blend of Long Island (Chardonnay) and Finger Lakes (Riesling and Gewürztraminer). Lightly fruity on the nose, I found just-ripe pineapple, melon and subtle Golden Delicious apple. Nearing room temperature, a honey note emerged as well. Fresh and snappy with a beam of acidity, the palate is simple and fruity with a bit of residual sweetness that is more than balanced by all that acidity.

As I mentioned, Roth is well known and respected for his Chardonnay wines, and a pair of 2008s do nothing to sully that reputation.

Wölffer Estate 2008 Chardonnay ($19) was made with partial barrel fermentation, which brings a subtle toastiness to its aromas of apples, lemons and banana. Medium-bodied and lightly creamy, the palate is very well balanced with flavors of pear, apple and banana, expertly balanced acidity and a long, somewhat smoky finish.

Though a step up in price, I prefer the Wölffer Estate 2008 “Perle” Chardonnay ($30) – a wine that is always near the top of the Long Island Chardonnay list. A bit more tropical on the nose (think pineapple, guava and mango), this lush, expressive Chardonnay also shows ripe peach aromas.

Rich and mouth-filling on the palate, it straddles medium and full-bodied with loads of tropical and peach fruitiness. Creamy and classy on the mid-palate, there is impeccable balance here because of well-integrated mineral acidity. The long, gently toasty finish lingers beautifully. [/expand]


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