Saturday, April 16, 2011

Old Field Chardonnay 2001 A Rare Treat!

Dominique and I bought this bottle of Old Field Chardonnay 2001 when we visited the farm back in 2005. THE OLD FIELD VINEYARDS, established in 1974 by Chris Baiz, is a family owned and operated vineyard. After years of producing fruit for sale, The Old Field started making wines, first with its 1997 Pinot Noir, and now Merlots, Cabernet Francs, Chardonnays, Blush de Noir, and newly released Blanc de Noir sparkling wines.

THE OLD FIELD, an agricultural area just one mile east of the village of Southold, had been actively farmed by native Americans for at least five hundred years prior to the arrival of “the first European settlers” in 1640.

Chris’s grandfather and his wife, Clara Lang, were potato and cauliflower growers, together with his uncle. When Clara died in 1993 aged 101 years of age, Chris and Ros became the next stewards. In 1997, The Old Field stopped row crop production and was laser planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

This is the third vineyard Chris has planted behind his 1974 planting of Hargrave vines and a 1985 planting of Pinot Noir. Today, the wines from these vines are crafted by winemaker Eric Fry, with guidance from Ros and Chris.

THE OLD FIELD legacy continues with Chris, Ros and their two adult children, Perry and Ryan. They are the fourth and fifth generation family members to farm The Old Field. The family celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of its establishment as a wine-growing farm in 2009.

So last night, it was a beautiful spring evening, though a tad chilly, the sun was bright and stayed out long. Dominique decided we would have broiled salmon, with Spanish rice and broccoli florets. And I needed something to go with it.

Though I buy many white wines in tastingrooms and wine shops, we more often drink reds. I thought this the optimum time to try a bunch of older whites I have. I wasn't sure what we were going to get. I've even had some very expensive whites expire in my cellar.

I found a very dusty bottle down there. A 2001 Old Filed Chardonnay. OK, let's give it a ride, I thought. The grapes were grown at Old Field and Eric Fry at Lenz made the wine, so that gave me hope.

I opened the wine and poured a glass. The wine was golden yellow, and still had a good amount of body. The nose was full of apples and pears, a hint of melon, and a nice portion of vanilla. On the palate, the fruit was still lively, with apples and pears coming through, and with a lovely, mellow finish. This had aged beautifully!!!!!!

I happily poured a glass for Dominique, we toasted each other, and tasted the wine together. We were both impressed. It was an incredible experience. The fatty fish that is salmon was fabulous against the older, full bodied wine. It was a terrific experience.

Old Field is one of the most charming vineyard sites you will ever lay eyes on. It is a small, family run concern, with real warmth. Go there, and try their wines and experience their view of Long Island sound set against their old New England styled farm. Beautiful!

Congrats to Chris, Ros, Perry, and Ryan. And congrats also to Eric Fry who continues on as their winemaker. Awesome!