Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Paumanok Assemblage 2001 (LI, NY)

So the other night we had some friends come to dinner with us – Duncan and Robin Ross of Arrowhead Springs Vineyard. We grilled some nice steaks, and had couscous and creamed spinach. It was a last minute kind of deal, but we had fun, starting off with Arrowhead Springs Meritage (a fantastic wine) and some Hudson Valley cheeses. We also had a bottle of Louis Latour 2007 Nuit St. Georges. Also fantastic.

For dinner, Duncan and Robin went down to the wine cellar and they went hunting for something different. Duncan wanted a wine he’d never had before, and he wanted to be local. You gotta love a guy who thinks like that! That’s why we’re friends.

Duncan decided on a Paumanok Assemblage 2001. I was thrilled. I’ve been writing about older vintages, and haven’t tasted one in the last few months. So this was a great opportunity. Many people feel there is not enough imperative information on older vintages of east coast wine – but my own tasting experiences absolutely show that east coast wines can last a good long time – 10 to 15 years minimum – of the better wines). Duncan was just as intrigued by the wine's age as I was.

Founded in the spring of 1983, Paumanok’s 103 acre estate is entirely owned and managed by Ursula and Charles Massoud, and their three sons. Born and raised in the "Old World", wine has always been a part of their lives. This is one of the Old Line wineries on the North Fork, and remains one of the better wineries there. They have a real commitment to quality. Kareem Massoud, one of their sons, is the young, engaging, and accomplished winemaker.

We opened the bottle and set it on the table. We had out the good wine glass (as opposed to the ones that fit in the dishwasher, that don’t have to be hand washed).
With the steaks hot off the grill (I hate letting meat stand – so have me shot by firing squad at CIA) and we poured the wine.

The 2001 Paumanok Assemblage received 89 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Assemblage is basically made up of the following: 70% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc. This is just a general guide. I could not find the actual make up of the wine anywhere online, and subsequent vintages have varied somewhat, with the Cab Sav and Merlot changing percentages, and in some vintages balancing out. While it is the 2001 vintage the wine itself was released in 2005.

The wine was a dark reddish-purple. Right off the bat the nose was impressive. Plum, prune, dark stewed fruits, with hints of vanilla and spice. Just really, really impressive! And then there was the tasting. More prune, plum, and dark stewed fruits. Big fruit up front. Nice acidity and medium or better tannins for a nice finish. The flavor lasted a long time in the mouth, with the fruit outlasting the acidity or tannins. A nice clean, dry ending. A absolutely fantastic wine!

Duncan and Robin were very impressed. Even my wife, Dominique, approved. She’s a tough customer. This was an exceptional wine, we all agreed. I thought the wine could have stayed in the cellar another 3-4 years easy.

Right now, Paumanok is releasing their Assemblage 2007, made by Kareem Massoud. Buy it…buy four or six bottles. Lay down half, and drink the rest whenever company comes over. They will be impressed.

Here’s a great post by another blogger about selling Paumanok Assemblage 2001: