You've heard me say over and over that Long Island is a cool-climate wine region. That's nothing new.
But the South Fork, also
known as the Hamptons, is actually even cooler, with a growing season that is typically ten or so days shorter. Some have said that this makes it better suited to
white wines than red. I'll open that can of worms another time, but there are some stellar whites made on the South Fork.
Channing Daughters Winery, one of three wineries in the Hamptons region is doing some of the most exciting things with white wine on the entire East Coast. But, they think it's only natural.
"Like Friuli, we are a maritime, cool-climate wine-grape growing region," says winemaker Christopher Tracy. "This is an excellent opportunity for white grapes to achieve optimum ripeness, flavor and acidity levels year in and year out. The soil and the landscape of the Isonzo region in Friuli especially bears these resemblances."
Tracy's evocation of Friuli is a unique one on and Island where everybody talks Bordeaux.
This wine, L'Enfant Sauvage or "Wild Child", gets it's name from the fact that it is a chardonnay fermented only with native, or wild, yeasts. The grapes come from Channing Daughters' Sculpture Garden and Brick Kiln vineyards, which were hand harvested and whole cluster pressed. The resulting juice took over a year to complete fermentation and spent 14 months in new French oak.
Regardless of how it's made, this is a wine I look forward to every year.
Although still relatively young, this wine is already a winner. Lush, intricate, and balanced, it is an ordinary enough light gold, but that color that belies it's full body, wonderfully complex aromas and delicious flavors. Fresh and roasted pears, vanilla spice, marzipan and baking spice mingle in the nose and on the palate, with faint honey notes and nicely balanced acidity and a little minerality.
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island