By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
If this post were a baseball game, it'd be "Turn Back the Clock Day" here on the New York Cork Report. I haven't written a post like this in a long time.
There was a time — before our four year-old son was born — that my wife and I would spend at least one day every weekend out in wine country, visiting wineries, meeting friends, making new ones and of course tasting great wines.
With the arrival of our little man four years ago, these casual, "see where the day takes us" days have been but fond memories, however.
These days, we mostly rely on strategic, near-surgical winery visits. We stick with wineries where we know our "energetic" toddler is welcome, arrive just as the winery opens so the tasting room is less crowded, taste some wines, chat with the owners or winemaker if they are around, maybe grab a quick lunch at one of the family friendlies on the North Fork — and then get home just in time for the little guy's nap.
Saturday, we threw that blueprint out the window, got into the car without any such plan and drove east — with amazing result: Four wineries, a picnic lunch with friends, live music and a well-behaved kid who napped on the way home.
We actually only stopped at the fourth winery because he wanted to stop. We would have been thrilled with just the first three.
The day started with a quick visit to Roanoke Vineyards for a special vertical tasting of their Blend One, which included wines from 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. I'll be writing a short post later this week just about this tasting, but here's a hint — the 2003 was my favorite of the lineup. I can't say for sure what its future holds, but it very well may be peaking now.
After a quick stop at Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck for picnic provisions, we met up with some also-with-toddler friends at Peconic Bay Winery for lunch and music by Matt Marshak, an incredibly talented young man. We sipped riesling and red blends as we watched our kids dance and have a great time.
This is where we got "wild" (you know, in that parental way) — stopping in at Clovis Point, a tasting room that we'd never been too… with or without our son.
Managing partner Hal Ginsburg sat down with us, poured several current releases as well as some 2007s that he was previewing for the holiday weekend. The 2008 Chardonnay and 2007 reds (unsurprisingly) were the standouts. Keep an eye on these wines and this winery in 2011.
We wound down our day at Paumanok Vineyards where we listened to a flute player and enjoyed yet another taste of their 2010 Chenin Blanc (review coming soon), before heading back west.
Every day in wine country is a great one, but this one was particularly so because it was enjoyed as a family.