Saturday, February 23, 2013

If Its Scarola Vineyards It's About Family and Friends, On Both Sides of the Tasting Counter (NY)

Scarola Vineyards is a small boutique producer on the North Fork of Long Island. They are a family run business, and I like that. It tells you that it’s about passion and commitment…it’s personal.
As their website illuminates, Scarola Vineyards truly is a family affair. While Frank Scarola is the proprietor and winemaker, he gets plenty of support from various family and extended family members. Donna Scarola,  Frank's wife, sells Scarola wines throughout New York City's five boroughs and in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

David Perrin and wife Donna are Frank’s cousins. David is general manager of Scarola Vineyards. David and Donna are also the innkeepers at Cedar House on Sound B & B. It was David I saw last at the Governor’s Conference in Albany! David walked me through the wines. He could not have been nicer. And how did I repay his generosity? With a late review. Let’s hope it’s not too late.
Michael, Frank and Donna's elder son, who’s in the financial industry, helps out his parents at wine events, harvesting, and bottling. Steven, Frank and Donna's younger son, is a student and musician, sells wine at farmers markets in Manhattan and Long Island. There are many other Scarollas who take part in the business, but there’s not enough room in this small article to cover them all. You’ll have to go to their website to see more.
Roman Roth is the winemaker (and now partner) at Wolffer Estate, one of Long Island's finest wineries. Roman collaborates with Frank in the crafting of Scarola wines and oversees their production at Wolffer Estate. Roman is one of the most brilliant winemakers on the east coast, and would be as comfortable an notable in California, as he would be in Burgundy, Germany, or wherever. He's that good! And his hand here is gentle but firm. In Scarola he has made easy drinking wines, without giving up his classic-minded style. He has made a line of wines that's as food friendly as I have ever seen.
The first wine I tasted was the 2010 "Cappella" Chardonnay which was fermented and aged primarily in stainless steel tanks. This is a light, fresh wine filled with with fresh apple and a citrus finish. Brigh acidity and great flavors are the hallmarks of this lovely, light, delicate Chardonnay. Tremendous!
Next was the 2008 Cabernet Franc. This was a nice medium-bodied dry red, that showed raspberry and plum up front. But there were also hints of smokiness and spices as promised. This was delicate and delicious, and great food wine. Nice smooth tannins, good acidity, and a lovely balance. A very nice drinking red.
Finally there was the 2010 "Masseria" Merlot. This is where Roman and Frank have combined to deliver a lovely wine which has massive aromas of dark berries, plum, hints of dark cherry, combined with spices and a lovely finish that makes a lovely merlot.  Good solid acidity helps extend the fruit flavor and the tannins are just nicely balanced, making the wine incredibly drinkable. A lovely, layered, complex red wine with incredible appeal. A lovely, lovely wine.
Scarola is the kind of wine you buy a case of and you store three or four bottles in the basement, not because you like to cellar wine (and if you do, you’d be fine doing this) but because you will drink the rest very quickly, especially when you have friends and family over. And you’ll have none left when you really want to impress someone. Its a great wine to impress a crowd with or just to enjoy when there’s a smaller group like four or three or two…or even one. Remember to put a few away, or they’ll be gone faster than you know. It’s that good! And I mean it as an absolute compliment. The prices are very affordable, and I think this whole line is among my favorite food wines. And I know why, first they taste great, and they are wines you share with friends and family. And that makes you feel good right there.
Great job, folks!
p.s. and David, thanks so much! Sorry for the delay!