Hamptons Epicure: Quaffing Deliciously Local Wine at Wolffer

Red wine pour
Photo: Lite Productions/Lite Productions/Thinkstock

I visited one of my favorite East End wineries last month for a library wine tasting. Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s stone winery building in Sagaponack was packed to the rafters for the event with
wine enthusiasts.

Normally, Wölffer’s patio doors are thrown open and their heat lamps are abuzz, but it was just too cold on this particular Sunday to fire them up. My husband and I only had each other and our love of wine to sustain us…

There were three library wines on offer: the 2001 Estate Selection Merlot, the 2004 Estate Selection Cabernet Franc and the 2009 Perle Chardonnay.

Of course we started with the white. This chardonnay is 100% chardonnay grapes. What is at once noteworthy is its bright color—golden with a bit of green. And then its flavor—a classic style chardonnay with hints of ripe papaya, kiwi, apricots and honeysuckle. And not too much oak—just the right amount—from its months in French barriques. Its tame acidity and its maker Roman Roth promise “a tremendous longevity.”

If, like me, you’re not a chardonnay fan generally, just buy a case of this so you always have it on hand when company demands chardonnay—and you won’t mind joining them for a glass. It’d pair nicely with light, fruity appetizers or chicken salad.

We sampled the merlot next. It’s made from 100% merlot grapes from Wölffer’s oldest vines. The deep red color promises and delivers a full-bodied warmth. This classic Bordeaux style merlot is handily paired with food. Tobacco notes and well-integrated tannins invite a substantial repast.

I was glad that we saved the cab franc for last because I found it to have pronounced spicy notes. I enjoyed its layers of tannins and cassis flavor. It’s a wine I’d prefer to concentrate on, rather than mixing it up with others in succession through a meal. I guess if I indulged in cigar smoking, this might be a standby beverage.

I generally stop after three tastings since I don’t cracher, so rather than indulging in a glass of my current favorite Wölffer wine—the 2012 Cool as Well Brut Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, I bought a bottle of it and took it home for later. I need to assuage grief—last month, while dining at Wölffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor, I asked for a glass of Cool as Well and was informed that it was not
on their menu! It’s always on my “menu” at home when I don’t have time to cook—it pairs spectacularly with Conca D’Oro’s pizza.

I also picked up some bottles of the 2015 rosé—because it’s not just for high summer in the Hamptons. In fact, it pairs swimmingly with the dishes I’ve been preparing lately from the new cookbook Israel Eats (Gibbs Smith) by Steven Rothfeld. These include hummus and dishes rich with anchovies, olives and eggs.

Read more Hamptons Epicure

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