You’ve heard me say over and over that Long Island is a cool-climate wine region. That’s nothing new.
But the South Fork, also
known as the Hamptons, is actually even cooler, with a growing season that is typically ten or so days shorter. Some have said that this makes it better suited to
white wines than red. I’ll open that can of worms another time, but there are some stellar whites made on the South Fork.
Channing Daughters Winery, one of three wineries
in the Hamptons region is doing some of the most exciting things with
white wine on the entire East Coast. But, they think it’s only natural.
"Like Friuli, we are a
maritime, cool-climate wine-grape growing region," says winemaker Christopher Tracy. "This is
an excellent opportunity for white grapes to achieve optimum ripeness,
flavor and acidity levels year in and year out. The soil and the
landscape of the Isonzo region in Friuli especially bears these
Tracy’s evocation of Friuli is a unique one on and Island where everybody talks Bordeaux.
wine, L’Enfant Sauvage or "Wild Child", gets it’s name from the fact
that it is a chardonnay fermented only with native, or wild, yeasts.
The grapes come from Channing Daughters’ Sculpture Garden and Brick
Kiln vineyards, which were hand harvested and whole cluster pressed.
The resulting juice took over a year to complete fermentation and spent
14 months in new French oak.
Regardless of how it’s made, this is a wine I look forward to every year.
still relatively young, this wine is already a winner. Lush, intricate,
and balanced, it is an ordinary enough light gold, but that color that
belies it’s full body, wonderfully complex aromas and delicious
flavors. Fresh and roasted pears, vanilla spice, marzipan and baking
spice mingle in the nose and on the palate, with faint honey notes and
nicely balanced acidity and a little minerality.
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island