Sunday, February 12, 2012

Howard G. Goldberg Raves About Waters Crest (LI)

Like an Avocado in a Glass
Published: January 27, 2012
New York Times

The food-friendly whites made at Waters Crest in Cutchogue and sold in its adjacent tasting room, in the North Road Commons industrial park, are noteworthy for their texture.

This characteristic, known in wine jargon as mouth feel, significantly contributes to the pleasures of all the winery’s 2010 whites. Think of it as approximately the fluid equivalent of a ripe, soft, buttery avocado.

Waters Crest, which was founded in 2001, is owned by James Waters, a self-taught winemaker. It is tiny: only 48 cases of its 2010 Private Reserve chardonnay were made, for example.

Mr. Waters owns no vineyards, buying grapes from North Fork and Finger Lakes growers.

My favorite white in a recent tasting was the smooth Campania Bianco ($23.99), a blend named for the Italian region that was home to the family of Mr. Waters’s wife, Linda, before they immigrated to the United States.

Made up of 50 percent chardonnay, 40 percent riesling and 10 percent sauvignon blanc, this young, perfumed wine, full of nicely melding fruit-salad flavors, is a winner. In four months, when the flavors evolve more fully in the bottle, it is likely to be even better.

Mr. Waters’s suave, appetite-whetting dry riesling ($19.99) is redolent of young peaches. His graceful sauvignon blanc ($22.99) possesses an attractively floral scent and a rich grassy flavor.

The light-bodied chardonnay ($23.99), described by Mr. Waters in an e-mail as “a limited-production wine made in distinctive vintages,” was detectably fermented in new French-oak barrels. It underwent a partial secondary fermentation that softened the acidity. Spicy and lemony, it is pleasing now and is likely to benefit from six months’ aging.

All four whites should be consumed only moderately chilled.

I also liked two of the Waters Crest reds, the mature Grand Vin cabernet sauvignon ($44.99) from the 2007 vintage, perhaps Long Island’s greatest vintage to date, and the light 2008 merlot ($34.99), an everyday wine.
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