Yet another highlight of my trip to the North Fork was Sherwood House vineyards. It was the last of the vineyards we visited on the trip, just before we made for the Briermere Farm stand (amazing, amazing pies!) and then the ferry. They have a beautiful old wooden barn with a magnificent fireplace in the back of the lot (which at the time was filled with sounds of live jazz music for the North Fork ‘Jazz on the Vine’ festival) as well as a large room full of antiques in the main building, adjacent to the main tasting room. The main room is a nice mix of quaint and modern; barn-like in feel but with all the modern appointments, including a modern tasting bar and just outside, a large deck. On this particular day, there was a raw bar set up on the deck as well. It was a perfect day and we took in some of the jazz, sun, antiques and a tasting of several wines. They also have pads of tasting note paper, so I did my due diligence as a student and filled out a few. As a result, I am able to tell you about a few of them today.
The 2007 ‘Oregon Road’ Merlot poured a medium ruby, and had a slight rim variation. On the nose there was black fruit and spice. Notably this wine has the shortest fermentation time of their wines, at 12 months. On the palate was smoke, an earthiness I loved, and more black fruit. The body, tannins, and finish were all about a medium. I don’t usually love 100% Merlot, but this had a nice distinct flavor that pleased my palate.
We next tried the 2008 Double-Gold Merlot. This too had similar color and rim variation as the Oregon Road, as well as the smoke, spice, and black fruit present in the former. However, there was a little more ‘smoke’ in the nose and it had a slightly fuller body, tannins, and finish. Very balanced and pleasant, and obviously good enough to win a couple of medals.
Next up was a fantastic Cabernet Franc. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this region is really where I discovered the full potential of Cabernet Franc all on its own, and they are doing great things on the North Fork with it. This 2008 vintage poured a medium ruby color, but on the nose there were fragrant baking spices, and a little bit of that floral and pepper aroma characteristic of the variety, and some cherry. The body, tannins and finish were all about a medium as would be expected in this true Chinon style wine. These are expensive at $40 and made in such small numbers they are each numbered on the bottle.
My favorite of all though was a white Merlot (also branded ‘Oregon Road’). It was a recent vintage, I believe a 2011, and my very first of this kind of wine. (Incidentally I have a white Pinot Noir from Lenz I will review this weekend once I’ve shared it with my father-in-law.) A pale straw color, it had distinct melon on the nose. On the palate, it was dry, with pear and more melon. Body, tannins and finish were light but overall it was refreshing and really delicious. This is one of those I wish I had bought more of. Oh well, I’ll just have to go back!
You can find almost all of these on their website.
The tasting Room is located at 1291 Main Road, Jamesport, NY 11947