October 15, 2010

Roanoke Vineyards

After hitting Briermere Farms and Martha Clara, we felt like stopping at one more winery (this was Jen and Alex's first trip out to the North Fork). We checked out the handy map at Martha Clara and were quite surprised to hear that Roanoke Vineyards was open until 830pm (most places close between 5 and 6p). That cinched it--we hopped in the car and drove along Sound Avenue once more.

It was dark and windy, so we were happy to get inside. THe place was packed! An employee, Andrew, came right up to us and asked if he could help us. He gamely tried to find us indoor seating--and the corner table opened up right then. Andrew was awesome. He was so welcoming and helpful. He brought out Asiago cheese and bread with each round, too, which we loved!

Andrew also poured something special for ABF (our designated driver) and Alex, who's not a big wine drinker--Roanoke's verjus. It's like a tart grape juice--not too sweet. It's from the first pressings of the grape and they don't let it ferment, so it's non-alcoholic. It's a nice change of pace, and a great thing to have for guests who don't drink but don't want water or soda. I really enjoyed this. Andrew poured them each a big glass of it. At $10 a bottle, it's a unique, delicious offering to have on hand at dinner for non-drinkers, designated drivers, etc.

The first drink Andrew poured for Jen and me was the 2009 De Rosa Rose (2 two glasses in the foreground of the above photo), which was dry and delicious, very mango-y and canteloupe-y to me. I liked this a lot, but I love all kinds of roses.

Our second tasting was of their 2008 Chardonnay ($18). This was bright and citrusy, a very light, drinkable Chardonnay. I think Jen & I both enjoyed this.

The star of the show, by far, was the ice wine ($37), produced by Wolffer Estates, which is affiliated with Roanoke. WOW. Jen had never had ice wine before, and I assured her she was in for a treat--an explosively fruity treat. I whispered to ABF that this might even be as good as...dare I say even a smidge better than... Duckwalk's Icewine--and that's saying a lot! It's also a lot more expensive than Duckwalk, but it tastes absolutely worth it. Jen & I both picked up a bottle-I'm saving it for a special occasion---or maybe a random Tuesday night. :)

Before we left our awesome corner spot (see how cute it is?), we peeked outside and saw a cute outdoor seating area, complete with chiminea, and the vines out to the back. We'll have to come back in the warmer weather and take advantage of the outdoor space, too.

Roanoke is a perfect example of how far good service can go.. It was our last stop of the evening and sort of a last-minute decision, but our experience was so great there that we a) spent more money than we planned and b) will definitely return. Thanks, Andrew, and thanks to everyone else at Roanoke!

Roanoke Vineyards
3543 Sound Avenue
Riverhead, NY 11901

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