I Could Get Used to This

14Oct09

wine5
The lunch orders were in, the stretch limo was waiting and the weatherman was spot on when he forecasted clear skies and 70 degrees of pure bliss. On a recent fall Saturday morning, I, along with a couple of my like-minded wine-o friends, set out on an all day excursion far away from strenuous Manhattan. We were headed to Long Island wine country for an early fall harvest wine tour.

A complete contrast to city life, North Fork, LI greeted us with its warmly colored countryside full of pumpkin patches, produce stands and row after row of grape vines. So many grape vines in fact that a glace out the limo window, would place you in a mesmerizing trance.
At 11:00 a.m., after the two-hour drive, we arrived at the first of four vineyards on the tour. Let me just preface this by saying that North Fork wineries offer a more casual wine tasting experience, one that was perfectly suited for our not-quite-experienced palates.

We started and ended the day with the best of the four vineyards. At the first, we were allowed to taste to our heart’s content. There must have been about 30 varietals and blends, from dry to sweet whites, strong reds and crisp roses. And we tried them all, enjoying some so much that we just had to get a few bottles for the ride home. It was a great way to start the day.

At the tasting table

At the tasting table
The next two stops didn’t quite make the cut, though. For one, the unfriendly vibe we got from the servers wasn’t what we expected. Not to mention, they had a strict limit of 3 tastings. That’s all we needed—we tasted and bolted, not wanting to waste too much of our precious time at unworthy places. Our driver raved over the last place, so we were excited to get to the final stop.

The girls- In front of our limo after the 2nd tasting

The girls- In front of our limo after the 2nd tasting
We pulled up to an old house off the side of a busy road that seemed to have been repurposed as a winery. There were tables set up outside and a band that was playing some good classic rock and country tunes. Inside, we were given a list to chose from and without being rushed, were poured tastes of their new and vintage. This, we decided was where we’d spend the next hour and a half. We enjoyed our tasting and, with a little buzz, relaxed outside with our lunch and the music under the fall afternoon sun.

I have to say that the success of the day was due in large part to Vineyard Tours, who handled everything from the limo, to the wineries, to the lunch, flawlessly. All I had to do was make the booking. And it’s always an added bonus when the company is accommodating to your needs, as in our case with the addition of an extra person at the last minute and our plea for an hour extension to the day. Because, after all, five hours of wine touring is not enough when you’re getting little tastes of such a variety. Curious as to what the other vineyards had to offer, an extension was necessary.

Although I’ve had my fair share of wines, and consider my palate to be quite developed for someone my age, I still have lots to learn. But like everything, true excellence comes with experience. So bring on the next tasting!

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