With summer just around the corner — despite the cool, grey weather blanketing most of the northeast right now — I wanted to pick some wines this month that are well suited to warmer weather occasions and foods. I think I’ve done that with these wines even if they don’t offer the same sense of discovery as some other picks have. These aren’t obscure producers or grapes or wines that you haven’t seen before.
Instead, I’ve chosen two delicious wines from two of my favorite producers — one in the Finger Lakes and one on Long Island.
My first pick is Red Tail Ridge Winery 2014 RTR Vineyard Riesling. During my recent visit with winemaker Nancy Irelan, we tasted through a bunch of riesling from a few vintages, made in styles ranging from bone dry to succulently sweet. What really stood out for me was a distinct chalky quality in the wines made from fruit grown in the estate vineyard, labeled “RTR Vineyard” on the front labels. When I say chalky, it’s not just about a flavor or a texture — it’s both. It’s distinct, super-delicious and it’s something that I hope to explore more and eventually write about. The well-regarded Magdalena Vineyard (owned by Hermann J. Wiemer) is right next door and I think the RTR Vineyard may have the same kind of potential. This is a bright, citrusy riesling with superior texture and a long finish.
Second for this month is the second edition of a wine made by Southold Farm + Cellar co-owner and winemaker Regan Meador. If you remember and enjoyed his 2014 “Minor Threat,” I think you’re going to really dig Southold Farm + Cellar 2015 “I Want to be Stereotyped” a fresh, red-berried carbonic cabernet franc. Made outside, under a tent behind another winery on the North Fork, this wine is perhaps a little funkier than Minor Threat, but it’s no less delicious. Bright red berries meet just a bit of mossy forest floor and a lick of juniper. It’s not quite a rose in color, but I like to treat it as such. Give it a light chill — or even a moderate one — and it’s a great wine to have on a warm summer day with grilled foods.
I hope you enjoy this month’s wines — and that the weather changes to match up with them just a little bit better.