I am smitten with Channing Daughters, a Long Island Vineyard (Hamptons, North Fork and Long Island AVAs). It all started when I found a bottle of their Scuttle Hole Chardonnay in a friend's fridge in the city. After making many derisive comments about Chardonnay, I tasted it and to my chagrin, I really liked it. This prompted me to make my first Vineyard Visit to Channing Daughters, which went so well that for the first time in my life, I joined a Wine Club. (did I mention that I am smitten?)
Christopher Tracy pouring. He held court and spoke enthusiastically about the process and the product. This is a man who takes pride in what he does and enjoys sharing with everyone.
2007 Sauvignon $24.00 - crisp and light, a great light fresh way to start the tasting.
2004 L'enfant Sauvage Chardonnay $50.00 Smooth, flavorful and delicious. It reminded me of Latour's White Burgundy, with a brighter finish. Channing Daughters is artisanal, and they are doing very interesting things with their wines. Using native wild yeasts in some of the fermenting process adds a depth of flavor that makes this wine unique and flavorful. I loved it.
2007 L'Enfant Sauvage $50.00 (I called this the `04's younger brother) it was young, fresh, a bit grassy, and had amazing hints of what is to come. I bought a bottle to take home with me. It could be opened and consumed tomorrow, but I am going to sit on this one and let it gather dust in the basement. This wine is worth waiting for.
2007 Mosaico $29.00 a big flavored blend of their greatest hits varietals: 32% Pinot Grigio, 29% Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Muscat Ottonel, 7% Tocai Friulano, and 6% Gewurztraminer. This is artistic blending that created a dry, complex, yet refreshing white wine.
2005 Meditazione $42.00 This is their Rockstar Northern Italian inspired "Orange Wine". Skin fermented, 29% Tocai Friulano, 24% Chardonnay, 19.5% Pinot Grigio, 11% Muscat Ottonel, 6% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Viognier and 2.5% Malvasia Bianca, I think of this as a Thomas Keller wine. Take the right amounts, mix them together properly and you get cutting edge haute cuisine with an American twist. Just the smell of this wine made my mouth water.
Larry Perrine poured three of their reds that are close to home and a great reflection of the property and the winery.
2004 Blaufrankish $28.00 a straightforward representation of 86% Blaufrankisch and 14% Merlot. Easy to drink, honest to the varietal with some soft Merlot undertones and aged well in new French Oak. It is a nice wine. I have a bottle of their `09 to review at home.
2005 Sculpture Garden $35.00 This is the inverse of the Blaufrankish above. 97% Merlot and 3% Blaufrankish, which made it a smooth plummy wine. I feel like this wine is at the top of its game and tasting it made me realize that good things come to those who wait.
2006 Research Cab $45.00 This is a dry blend of 39% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Blaufrankisch, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Syrah, 1.5% Sangiovese, 2%, 1.5% Barbera, and 1% Malbec. Really, does it make you wonder if the winemaker had a chemistry kit as a child? This is a wine that I would dare someone to try and replicate. Between the mixing, the unfined & unfiltered fermenting and the overall age of the wine, it is an amalgam of flavor that is one of a kind. More of a wine to sip and talk about the process of making wine, with the rich, dry flavors that remind us why we like wine. Listening to Larry talk about the North Fork "Research Vineyard" where all these varietals were grown just makes me feel like I am listening to an alchemist give up the secrets to making gold.
Debbie Huneken poured these stately reds.
Over & Over Variation 3 $37.00 A multi-vintage blend of red wines from as far back as 2004. It was earthy and easy to sip. Another example of the alchemy that has been happening at Channing Daughters.
1991 Horton Point $30.00 a Bordeaux type blend that was made from grapes grown on the property. This well aged full bodied wine pre-dates the vineyard, but still speaks to the "terrior" of the Hamptons AVA. Grow Grapes, make wine, age for a couple for decades, and then grill some fatty steak, pop open the bottle and talk about the nascent days of vineyards on Long Island. Horton had a point, and that point was, we can do this, we can make wine locally. I am glad that they built on this footprint and thrilled that the wine business is flourishing today.
A slide show from the day: