With the last Saturday of each passing February comes Open That Bottle Night, a holiday created by The Wall Street Journal‘s “Tastings” columnists Dorothy J. Gaither and John Brecher. On this night each year, we venture in the deepest nook of our wine cellars to open up that bottle of delightfully aged wine that we’ve been saving for a special occasion.
However, if you’d rather let that bottle evolve for another few years, East End vineyards have you covered. Here are 10 decade-old wines available now at Hamptons and North Fork wineries.
Channing Daughters Winery’s 2004 Pazzo
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Pazzo is a fortified and maderized wine made from the Merlot grape that spent seven years in barrels. It pairs well with all the activities that come after the entrée—whether that is a cheese course, nuts or a dessert featuring chocolate or fruit. The wine was fermented dry, then fortified to 18% alcohol with neutral grape spirits, put in barrels and placed outside to maderize for five years. This means the wine was subjected to the elements, both the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. The Pazzo is filled with aromas and flavors of figs, caramel, orange peel, Christmas spices, raspberry liqueur, nuts and dried fruit. When the Merlot arrived for our rosato, we pressed and settled the juice and added a bit of that sweet merlot juice to give our Pazzo just a pinch of sweetness.
1927 Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton. 631-537-7224, channingdaughters.com
Duck Walk Vineyards’ Sunset Dessert Wine 2010
Tasting notes from the winemaker: This exceptional white port is made from Chardonnay harvested in 2010 and aged in old oak for eight years. This fortified wine is great served after dinner with fresh fruits, cheeses and cakes.
44535 Main Road, Southold. 631-765-3500; 231 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. 631-726-7555, duckwalk.com
Lenz Winery’s 2010 Late Harvest Chardonnay
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Sweet aromas of honeysuckle and baked apples abound in this dessert wine. Full-bodied with balanced acidity, this late harvest wine boasts luscious flavors of apples, pears and wild apricot.
38355 Main Road, Peconic. 631-734-6010, lenzwine.com
Macari Vineyards’ 2010 Bergen Road
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Bergen Road is the flagship red blend made only in top vintages. This 10-year-old, complex, full-bodied wine consists of 56% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. Dark raspberry, blackberry and a touch of leather on the bouquet combine with flavors of lively layered red fruit, herbs, dark chocolate and vanilla. Made from 100% estate fruit, the wine is full-bodied with a long, lingering finish.
150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck. 631-298-0100, macariwines.com
Mattebella Vineyards’ 2011 Old World Blend
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are blended together to create a medium body wine with rose petals, blackberry, dark cherry and a hint of pomegranate flavors. Soft feminine tannins juxtapose a grippy natural acidity, leading to a clean, long finish with a tea-leaf nuance.
46845 Main Road, Southold. 631-655-9554, mattebella.com
McCall Wines’ 2010 Ben’s Blend
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Ben’s Blend is one of McCall’s most recognized and award-winning wines. It’s a classic right bank Bordeaux blend, made only in exceptional vintages.
22600 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-5764, mccallwines.com
One Woman Wines’ 2010 Estate Reserve Merlot
Tasting notes from the winemaker: This partially unfiltered Merlot was harvested on November 22, 2010, a year that is considered the best vintage Long Island has seen. This soft, yet complex wine features notes of tobacco, blackberry jam and grilled plums.
5195 Old North Road, Southold. 631-765-1200, onewomanwines.com
Palmer Vineyards’ Pasión 2008
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Palmer’s passion is reflected here by capturing the true essence of the Long Island Cabernet Franc grape. With only a 102-case production, this rare and unique late harvest dessert wine is made with Cab Franc grapes, picked upon their grandest ripeness. Scents of raspberries, cocoa and savory black pepper belies the sweet plum, chocolate and vanilla flavors. Eight years of French oak barrel aging gives Pasión a finesse that expresses the dedication and passion that is Palmer Vineyards.
5120 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. 631-722-9463, palmervineyards.com
Pellegrini Vineyards’ 2005 Reserve
Tasting notes from the winemaker: This elegant red blend offers multiple layers of dark fruit backed with bold tannins. Richly aromatic and magnificently flavored, this wine is the pride of Pellegrini Vineyards.
23005 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-4111, pellegrinivineyards.com
Sparkling Pointe’s 2011 Brut Seduction
Tasting notes from the winemaker: Gold in color, it is buttery—integrating aromas of brioche, almond and toffee along with a hint of vanilla pastry. Golden raspberry, honey and orange blossom come through the rich texture along with a polished effervescence that lingers on the palate. Discover a super organoleptic profile in this rare mature cuvée.
39750 County Road 48, Southold. 631-765-0200, shop.sparklingpointe.com