By Lenn Thompson, Publisher and Editor
TasteCamp 2009 wrapped up yesterday afternoon and I have to admit, I'm exhausted. It was truly a whirlwind, non-stop tour of Long Island wine country over the course of two days.
There will obviously be a deluge of blogs posts, both here on LENNDEVOURS and on attendee blogs, but to give you a taste of the weekend via a handful of photos. You can enlarge any of these by clicking on them.
We started the second day of TasteCamp EAST 2009 with a tasting of six red wines from Roanoke Vineyards. My surprising favorite? The unreleased 2007 Marco Tulio, a low-oak blend of cab sauv and cab franc.
Our second stop of the morning was at Paumanok Vineyards, where we tasted through much of their current portfolio and also had an opportunity to taste some 2007 barrel samples. Several wines impressed, but I went home with a couple bottles of the soon-to-be-released 2008 Chenin Blanc.
Shinn Estate hosted us for an amazing lunch featuring a few of their own wines as well as some from Jamesport Vineyards and Macari Vineyards. The sauvignon blancs from each of the three wineries were all delicious with the fresh, clean fare, but the wine of the tour stop was a barrel sample of Shinn's 2007 Cabernet Franc. It would not be hyperbole to say that it could be a new benchmark for Long Island franc.
Shinn also hosted a post-lunch tasteing coordinated by the Long Island Wine Council where we were able to taste a wide array of Long Island wines. I didn't get to taste as many of them, but the roses from Croteaux Vineyards and the white merlot from Lieb Family Cellars were memorable.
Next, we headed over to Bedell Cellars to taste with founding winemaker Kip Bedell. I always like their gewurztraminer.
Our last stop of day 2 was at The Lenz Winery where we were hosted by winemaker Eric Fry. Eric is always great to taste with and we tasted a lot of barrel/tank samples of wines followed by the current releases of each. His 2007 reds are going to be amazing when they are released in a few years.
On day 3 of TasteCamp, a smaller group (the long day tasting on Saturday took its toll on some) invaded the Hamptons to visit two of Long Island's best, starting with Wolffer Estate, where we tasted some of the regions luxury wines with winemaker Roman Roth. It's not every day that you get to taste three vintages of Long Island's most expensive wine, Roman's own 2002 merlot, and a succulent botrysized dessert wine.
Our final stop for the weekend was a visit to Channing Daughters Winery, where we tasted with winemaker Chris Tracy. I think that those in attendance found this a very refreshing stop -- both because the focus is on white wines and because Chris talked more about similarities to Friuli, Austria and the Loire Valley than Bordeaux, which we heard several times during the weekend. The soon-to-be-released 2008 Sauvignon Blanc was a great start to a lineup that impressed start to finish.