Even the most casual Long Island wine lover knows Castello di Borghese,
located in Cutchogue. Their vineyards are where the Long Island wine
industry got its start back in 1973—then known as Hargrave Vineyard
after founders Alex and Louisa Hargrave. As such, a visit to Castello di Borghese offers visitors a chance to travel back to infancy of Long Island wine. That’s this producer’s past.

That’s the past and because winery’s current owners, Marco and
Ann Marie Borghese put the property back on the market for $9.2 million
(it was purchased for $4 million in 1999). The entire estate is
included — 85 acres (25 planted with vines), the winery, the tasting
room, the warehouse and the beautiful family farmhouse. That’s this
producer’s future.

What about its present?

Castello di Borghese 2005 Chardonnay ($15) won a
gold medal at the 2007 Florida State International Wine Competition,
but that’s not why it’s good. It’s just hard for me to trust some of
these competitions. I prefer to taste wines myself and see what’s what.

But they got it right this time. This steel-fermented
chardonnay is medium bodied with bushels of fresh apples and citrus on
the nose and just a little
brown spice—the result of aging in older oak barrels. On the palate,
there are more apples—ripe and roasted—along with some slightly
tropical flavors and vanilla spice.

As I often find with Borghese wines, the balance is impressive with nice acidity that keeps the wine alive in your mouth.