Onabay Vineyards is a new North Fork producer, but there is plenty of history, and talent, behind their wines. Their vineyard is 18 years old and veteran vineyard manager Steve Mudd watches over the vines while Bruce Schneider of Schneider Vineyards makes the wines. Beyond that, Onabay Vineyards, which was named as such because the vineyard is, well, on a bay, is a family affair.

The Anderson family owns the 180-acre farm that houses the vineyard and has its members participate in every piece of the operation. Francesca Anderson, a renowned botanical artist, created the drawings of herons that appear on the front labels. Her daughter, Mia C. Anderson, a published poet, penned the poems that are found on the back labels. Her other daughter, Chiara Anderson Edmands, oversees the winery’s marketing and promotional efforts.

Onabay Vineyards’ 2006 “Unwooded” Chardonnay ($22)
is a wine intended to highlight chardonnay’s true self— rather than oak or the winemaker's talent. To that end, this wine is fermented entirely in stainless steel and malo-lactic fermentation was strictly avoided.

Extremely pale yellow with a greenish tint, the nose is light, even austere, with citrus-lemon aromas, faint apples and a distinct minerality vaguely reminiscent of the sea.

That mineral component is even more intense on a medium-bodied palate and is joined by lemon zest and green apple flavors. There is just enough acid here and the finish is lengthy with minerality that just goes on and on. It's vaguely Chablis-like in some ways. Unfortunately, the mid-palate is a little neutral and watery.

If I ate oysters, I'd like to give this wine another try with them.

Producer: Onabay Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.5%
Rating:   25
(2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Very Good)

(Ratings Guide)