I joined the Wölffer Estate Vineyard wine club earlier this year. Every few months I’m invited to pick up a big box of wine from their winery in Sagaponack. This keeps me on the straight and narrow—drinking locally. The best part of the club—apart from the wine itself—is the Wölffer Wine Club News. The June edition included info on the Wölffer Kitchen which was about to open in Sag Harbor, some announcements about events at Wölffer and….drum roll please…tasting and pairing notes from Wölffer winemaker Roman Roth.
I thought to share his insights, coupled with my own “Wölffer lifestyle experiences” upon drinking the wines. I’m not going to go into the pleasure of drinking Wölffer’s Trebbiano 2014 because it is now sold out. When you’re in the club, you sometimes get the very last of a vintage and you often get bottles before their public release. In my June shipment there were three wines that were not yet released. They included the Grandioso Rosé 2014, the Fatalis Fatum 2012 and the Lambardo Merlot 2012.
The Grandioso of 30% merlot, 34% cabernet franc and 36% chardonnay is, in Roth’s words, “a sophisticated , barrel-aged rosé with aromas of violet, strawberry, peach and hazelnut and bright flavors of fruit, round, creamy lees.” He suggests pairing it with “caviar, lobster, foie gras and oysters on the half-shell, tuna or steak tartare and a wide range of artisanal cheeses.” I quite agree and would specifically suggest Atlantic Mist from Mecox Bay Dairy. Just grand.
The Fatalis of 57% merlot, 22% cabernet sauvignon, 19% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot was apparently destined to exhibit its “nuanced aromas of cassis, fig, sandalwood and vanilla.” As Roth continues, it has a “seamless elegance, balance and intensity.” Balance is a reliable element of Roth’s work, it may be what I appreciate most about many of his wines. He suggests pairing Fatalis with “steak, lamb, game or meaty fish like shark, wild mushrooms, risotto, or aged ‘stinky’ cheeses.” I suggest pairing this dark berry wonder with roasted oysters. Elements of this wine are so dark they feel primeval. This is one of the wines that reminds us that Roth is originally from the Black Forest.
The Lambardo of 100% merlot is quite acidic, cleansing. Roth notes that “luscious dark fruit dominates the palate from start to the long finish. Great concentration!…Smoky undertones on this wine match the char on grilled meats and meet the robust cheeses on even the most epicurean party spread.” Hmmm, “the most epicurean party spread” sounds like a challenge—I accept!
Did I mention that many Wölffer wines, including their popular Sauvignon Blanc come in screw cap bottles? Love the convenience—don’t miss the Old World charm of smelly, messy, difficult cork in the least. Roth suggests pairing the 2014 with “raw bar selections or solo.” Easily done.
I also picked up a bottle of Grapes of Roth Dry Riesling 2014. As Roth says, “with its lively acidity and hit of sweetness, this surprisingly versatile wine pairs well with everything from cream sauces to spicy Asian fare.” I served it alongside vegetables from my garden drenched in a cashew-cumin sauce and dolloped with Greek yogurt. Perfection.
Taste Wölffer wines at Dan’s Harvest East End, the food-and-wine classic, on August 22 at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. Hosted by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, the event showcases more than 40 East End winemakers, the dishes of 30-plus top regional chefs and purveyors. Tickets $125 for general admission and $275 for VIP. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTaste.com. wolffer.com
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