By Lenn Thompson, Long Island Editor and Editor-in-Chief
Lieb Family Cellars, a small North Fork winery with a tasting room tucked into the front of the Premium Wine Group complex, was one of the wineries that first inspired me to start writing about wine more than five years ago. It was the first winery I had visited on Long Island where I enjoyed every wine in the lineup. In fact, Nena and I joined the wine club after that first visit.
So, when I was trying to decide what winery to visit for Wine Blogging Wednesday #61: At the Source, I eventually shot an email to Gary Madden, Lieb's long-time general manager, to set up an appointment for last night for after work.
My target wine for WBW was the newly Lieb Family Cellars 2007 Bridge Lane Cabernet Franc ($18), but over the course of two-plus hours, Gary and I tasted through the current releases as we talked about chardonnay styles on Long Island, how the economy has impacted business (a large part of their model is restaurants in Manhattan), wine dinners, blogging and my evolution as a writer.
Like I said, Gary was there at the beginning.
But let's get back to the wines, which were showing very well for the most part. Some quick-hit notes for some of the wines we tasted:
2008 Bridge Lane Merlot Blanc ($15): Pretty nose of cherry, citrus and peach. Peach and cherries on the palate with good acidity up front, but an abrupt finish makes it seem less bright. Liked the 07 far better.
2007 Reserve Pinot Blanc ($20): Ripe pear, floral and some melon on the nose. Great balance, clean, dry and slightly creamy with a great minerally edge. Very Alsatian.
2005 Blanc de Blancs ($35): Fresh and crisp with bright pear and apple flavors with toasty yeast/dough notes and hints of honey. Maybe the best vintage of this wine to date.
2007 Bridge Lane Chardonnay ($15): Peach, Granny
Smith apple and pineapple/tropical. Medium-light body with palate-cleansing
acidity, more apple, pear and stone fruit flavors with a subtle, minerally-saline
edge that lingers longer than you’d expect at this price point.
2006 Reserve Chardonnay ($20): Well-balanced barrel fermented chardonnay. Apple fruit with nutty, toasty nuance and just a little vanilla on the finish. Well done, but not distinctive.
2007 Bridge Lane Cabernet Franc ($18): 50% done entirely in steel. Cherry and cranberry fruit with earthy, mushroomy flavors and subtle asparagus and herb notes. Maybe a little too much oak (some vanilla on the finish) but still my kind of wine.
2005 Reserve Cabernet Franc ($25): Ripe black cherry and pomegranate with a fist full of violets on the nose. Ripe, almost plump with mushroomy, earthy flavors backing bright fruit. Subtle spice too. Very well done.
2005 Bridge Lane Merlot ($15): Decent fruit, but surprisingly green from a warm vintage. The one hiccup of the tasting for me.
2004 Reserve Merlot ($20): Drinking really nice right now. I hate the Bordeaux comparisons, but this really is reminiscent of a Right Bank wine. Plum, blackberry, cedar, dusty cocoa and subtle minty-herb notes. Medium-body with well incorporated tannins.
So that's it for this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Over the next several days I'll be compiling all of the submissions, so keep an eye out for that post as well.