Chenin_paumanokEric Asimov of the New York Times has written several times about how much he enjoys Long Island merlot. And who can blame him — at least if you’re talking about the North Fork’s best bottles.

But as he says today on The Pour, Long Island white wines don’t get nearly as much attention. Specifically, he focuses on Paumanok Vineyards’ chenin blanc, the only such wine (I think) in all of New York. As coincidence would have it, I tasted the new 2007 vintage of this wine last week and will be writing about it soon here.

Let’s get back to Long Island white wines, though. That’s why we’re here today.

There is an ocean’s worth of chardonnay made out here, from steel-fermented wines with crackling acidity all the way to rich, buttery barrel-fermented ones…and every style in between. Most are just okay, some are good and there are a few that transcend. In general though, they aren’t very exciting.

Riesling, my favorite of all white grapes, can be good here too. But again, these aren’t wines that I’m typically excited about. The same is true for Gewürztraminer, unless we’re talking about the one from Corey Creek Vineyards. That’s a wine I always enjoy.

The white wines that get me going the most fall into two categories: sauvignon blanc and those made by Chris Tracy at Channing Daughters Winery.

My affection for local sauvignon blanc is well documented on this blog, so I won’t go into it too much. I’ll just list some of my favorite producers: Shinn Estate, Raphael, Macari, Jamesport and Osprey’s Dominion. And of course Channing Daughters too — and they make two wines dominated by sauvignon blanc.

The folks at Channing Daughters do things a little differently, starting in the vineyard. They grow unique-to-the-Island grapes like Tocai Friulano, Aligote, malvasia bianca, and muscat ottonel. Take those grapes, add chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, pinot bianco, and put them in the able hands of Tracy and you end up some of the best, most food-friendly, whites you’ll ever taste. Keep an eye out for more on some of his latest releases.

Now I want to know, what are some of your favorite local white wines? Leave them in the comments.