Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nautique Wines from the North Fork of Long Island - Perfect for the Holidays!

I first tasted a bottle of Nautique at the Long Island wine tasting in April or May of this year at Astor Wines and Spirits. I was remiss for not writing about it then. Now, I am admittedly a little behind. Nautique was released in August. So my apologies, first to the folks at Peconic Bay. However, it's still plenty of time before the holidays. And this line, which captures the nautical spirit of life on Long Island, are perfectly priced and delicious for use on your holiday table and at holiday get togethers! Great for large dinner parties, family get togethers, or circling the television during a late fall sporting event (like any time the Giants or Jets beat up on somebody!).

Nautique is a new line of table wines priced aggressively, packaged beautifully, and most importantly made with great tasting wines!!!!

Peconic Bay Winery, recognized for producing great wines on the North Fork of Long Island. Winery General Manager Jim Silver states, “Nautique is a new way forward for us. Here is a brand that permits us creativity in blending, and flexibility in wine making, while providing the consumer an exciting new style of wine. It is a crisp, aromatic, light and fresh style that is in keeping with the modern consumer’s tastes, and all at the right price.”

“The Nautique line allows me unlimited freedom as far as blending and creativity is concerned”, states Peconic Bay Winemaker Greg Gove. “Esprit de Blanc will enable me to explore the synergistic effects of combining a variety of aromatic white grapes. Esprit de Rosé gives me an opportunity to make Rosés that rival those of the Provence region, and the Esprit de Rouge allows me the freedom to employ a variety of maceration and extraction techniques coupled with judicious blending of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.”

“This release marks a sudden departure from the straight path usually pursued by wineries in this region. Here is a conscious attempt to produce wine that inspires the consumer to find pleasurable experiences outside of the conventions of varietal” states Jim Silver.

Silver continues, “The bottle and label are a fresh new design – a spirited interpretation of the nautical themes derived from this wonderful place, the North Fork of Long Island. The vertical label is a boat’s sail – quite a common sight along the shores here – and the heavy, wide-base tapered bottle demonstrates solidity, stability, and confidence. It’s just beautiful.”

So it was with a great thrill, that Dominique and I decided we were going to have a Nautique inspired wine dinner. It's November in the Hudson Valley, so the days grow dark fast, and the kitchen takes on a whole new meaning in the fall. The room filled up with warm light, we had jazz music on as the kids bustled about and the dog's nails click-clacked across the linoleum floor. The warm glow of the kitchen, with it's fall buzz of industry, was set off against the last vestiges of night, and the bare branches of late autumn.

We started off with a butternut squash soup, and the Nautique Esprit de Blanc. The soup was hot and creamy, seasoned just beautifully with kosher salt, pepper, and a sprig of rosemary and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The Blanc is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling. It's aromas were fabulous, with hints of lemon, green apple, peach, and grapefruit. It's a bright, clean, fresh wine, with wonderful fruit upfront, great acidity, and a nice, long lasting finish for a white. Refreshing and wonderful. I could not help but think that I would have rally loved it with almost any kind of shellfish or seafood as well. I was drooling for clams or oysters, but the soup itself was rich and wonderful , and the wine was a tremendous compliment.

Next was roast chicken, rubber with lemon and butter, and sprinkled liberally with pepper and salt. We had stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Along side this, we placed the Rouge. The Nautique Esprit de Rouge is a blend of 95% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. This is a medium bodied red, with wonderful aromas of raspberry, dark, dark cherry, and a touch of plum. There are hints of cedar and vanilla. I took my first bite of the chicken and tasted the stuffing alongside of it. I swallowed. Then I brought up the glass to my lips. The fruit exploded in my mouth. But at the same time, the acidity and light tannins brought the fruit into line, and the whole of the wine was a tremendous mouthfeel. Flavors swirled. And there was a nice, long finish, with great balance, and not to big a tannin, but just enough. Smooth and friendly, this is one of the best table wines I've had in a while. Affordably priced, his was a lovely, lovely wine.

According to Peconic Bay, "Nautique Esprit de Rosé was enjoyable to produce. The subtleties produced by fermenting Cabernet Sauvignon grapes without their skins created challenging blending options. The result is a fresh, lively, food-friendly summertime wine that works anytime of the year. A bright pink salmon color is a testament to the pristine flavors, higher than average natural acidity and crisp red fruit character. Strawberry and pink grapefruit aromas give way to a complex arrangement of berry, white peach and citrus flavors."

If you are looking to buy a case of something for the holidays, the Blanc and the Rouge are a great, great buy. I would buy a mixed cases to start with - six of each, and know it will impress everyone with the cool, sleek packaging, and the great tasting wine....and let them think I spent a fortune!

Happy Holidays!