By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
I walked in to Saturday night's "Judgment of Riverhead" tasting at Roanoke Vineyards with an intoxicating blend of excitement, curiosity and nervousness.
The wine lover in me was near-giddy about tasting so many top wines blind. Blind tasting is one of my favorite things to do -- especially when I get to taste with winemakers and other industry folks. I wish I got to do it more often.
The local wine enthusiast in me wondered what Long Island wines would be poured and just how they'd stack up against the unknown-but-highly rated wines from France and California. Would top wineries send their top guns? A look around the room offered clues -- several winery owners and winemaker were there. Was that a coincidence or were there wines in the lineup?
I also went into this tasting with a lot of questions. And I walked out few new or concrete answers -- and even more questions.
In a future post, I'll pose and discuss some of these questions and offer some insights from some of my fellow judges as well. It was a fascinating evening and one that is deserving of thoughtful analysis.
Today though, I want to focus on the wines -- local and not -- themselves and discuss the results of the scoring.
As I mentioned in my preview post, we tasted 18 wines total -- 9 white and 9 red -- with three each from Long Island, France and California.
The whites were all chardonnay and were (organized by region, not scoring):
- 2008 Marsanny Blanc "Champs Perdrix" Marc Roy
- 2008 Meurault "L'ormeau" Boyer-Martenot
- 2008 Puligny Montrachet "Le Trezin" Colin-Morey
- 2007 Martinelli "Martinelli Road" Chardonnay (By Helen Turley)
- 2008 Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay
- 2008 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
- 2007 Pellegrini Vineyards "Vintner's Pride" Chardonnay
- 2007 Wolffer Estate "Perle" Chardonnay
- 2008 Palmer Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve
My highest-scored whites was the Puligny Montrachet, but as you can see (the numbers in the left column are the overall scores) the Long Island wines fared well overall. I scored the Palmer highly.
Interestingly, my lowest score went to the winning wine, which I also thought was from California.
After all of that that barrel-influenced chardonnay, I was ready to move on to the nine reds -- and they did not disappoint:
- 2004 Leoville Poyferre
- 2004 Gruaud Larose
- 2004 Cos D'Estournel
- 2007 Ramey "Annum" Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2007 Detert Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2007 Paul Hobbs "Crossbarn" Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2004 Grapes of Roth Merlot
- 2007 Macari Vineyards "Bergen Road"
- 2007 Roanoke Vineyards 2007 "Blend One"
My highest score went to the Leoville Poyferre, with the Roanoke and Detert following just behind. I liked the Detert enough that I'm actually going to track some down and drink it again.
Today, I say congratulations to all of the Long Island wineries who took part, especially the winners, and also want to congratulate the fine folks at Roanoke Vineyards for putting on a well-conceived and well-organized tasting.
If you were there -- and I know several of our readers were -- what were your impressions? Did you agree with the judges? What were your favorite wines?