Saturday, April 16, 2016

Waters Crest - An Over Due Appreciation

Ok, let's start where we should - with Adam Slater - who is the general Manager of Water's Crest. He is a very cool guy. And I have done two extended tastings with Adam. I FB'ed both, but I have been tardy in reviewing the wines and writing about the winery. Adam is a very cool guy. An exceptional brand ambassador for this small, but potent family winery! Adam has invited me to numerous events, and offered me both future samples as well as library wines. He's well known and well liked by the North Fork wine crowd - and for good reason! He's terrific!
Now, the first thing is that while the winery is still located where it used to be, the tasting room has moved! The Waters Crest tasting room is one of the most intimate tasting rooms found on the North Fork of Long Island.  Their new tasting facility is located at 28735 Main Road in Cutchogue. Directly across the street from Wickhams Farm Stand in the red brick building.
I visited the new tasting room with Long Island and New York state wine guru Lenn Thompson of the New York Cork Report (the hairy looking dude to the far right). Adam gave us a preview of the space before it opened! A fabulous new room! Cozy, but with a ton of new features! 

The room is filled with a large bar, but also with televisions and over stuffed arm chairs and small tables, like a cocktail lounge. Comfort is premium, and half this room is dedicated to having a good time right then and there.

I was especially appreciative of the small hooks under the bar like a real cocktail lounge should have. Loved that! Perfect for coats, jackets, knapsacks, and handbags.
I also loved the clever new recharging station!!

And of course there's the wines! Jim Waters is proud of his line, and he should rightfully feel that way. The wines are consistent and getting better with each vintage. Jim Waters just keeps chugging along, making solid wines. Sometimes they have been so under the radar, at least under my radar, that I have been chagrinned. I have to tell you I have poured three bottles of their wines for three different sets of friends, and all three times, people looked at me, refusing to believe these were New York state wines. They were absolute hits at the table.

The thing about Waters Crest is that it's not owned by an Academy Award-winning director, it's not helmed by a wealthy internationally connected entrepreneur, it's not being run by someone who's in the news every week. Jim Waters is a lunch pail type guy. He goes to work. It's not flashy. He's not going to bamboozle you with the latest technique. There's no gimmicks. There's no tricks. It's just solid, solid wines that have improved so much so, that one must now take some of their best wines, like their Chardonnay, their reisling, and their Cab Franc and their Campania Rosso and acknowledge that they belong in the conversation of the better wines in the state.

That said, I have visited with Adam twice in the last 12 months. I visited about 9 months ago, and then about 3 months ago. So, this review is waaaaay over due. And for good reason, I am still very thrilled to promote these wines. Because they were lovely!

Firstly, the Dry Riesling 2013 was spectacular! Green apple heaven with grapefruit and lemon. Bone dry! An incredibly lovely wine! Robert Parker gave this an 89!

The Waters Crest Chardonnay 2013 Private Reserve was fantastic! Loved their light touch with Chardonnay. This was a lovely, light, crisp, wine, with lots of complexity. Aged in oak for six months, it had green apple, tropical fruits, and a nice dose of vanilla. A gorgeous, lively wine!

Loved both of these Merlots.
The Waters Crest Merlot 2010 is 100% Merlot aged in oak (mostly French oak; some American oak). Big ripe and dark cherries mingle with eucalyptus and a hint of smoke which come through as the winery promises. Cranberry also comes through. Very complex. Very nice.
"Classic in most respects, this is a fine ringer for St. Emilion, with elegance in the mid-palate and a somewhat earth feel rising above the oak-imparted cream on the smooth texture," wrote Mark Squires in Wine Advocate,  where he gave it 90 points!
The Waters Crest Merlot 2012 is a 100% varietal wine. Aged in French oak, this big wine is dominated by big, fresh dark cherries, with cocoa and vanilla, as well as hint of smoke and leather. A very complex, gorgeous wine. Cellar at least five years. This wine will only improve. A lovely, complex, dry red from the North Fork. 

Adam poured me two vintages of the Capania Rosso, their big red blend. I love this wine!

"The 110 cases that came out of ’08 are a blend of 68 percent merlot, 18 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12 percent cabernet franc and 2 percent petit verdot. All of which brings up the question of origin. Campania Rosso is a pretty Italian-nodding name, but those grapes? That’s straight-up classic Bordeaux. What’s up with that?" posited popular wine and spirits journalist and author Amy Zavatto in Edible East End magazine.

“My wife is Italian, and that’s where her family from. They moved here before and after World War II, and her dad first, and then her mom after, they came here to restart their lives.” Jim Waters told Zavatto.

"Sniff at it, and there’s the gorgeous, dark, juicy fruit: black and red cherries; dribbly plums; a little cigar box and baking spice lingering around the edges of your tongue when you sip and the bright, buoyant zip of acidity that keeps the party sitting up straight at the table," Zavatto wrote of the CR 2008.

Anna Ijima Lee wrote in Wine Enthusiast, "A touch of leather adds intrigue to bright cherry and fresh herb aromas in this Long Island Bordeaux-style blend...Medium bodied in style with a refreshing spray of acidity."

I thought the wine was wonderful. Big cherries, with layers of flavors throughout! And with a couple of years of age on it, I thought it was tasting incredible.

The 2010 Campania Rosso is a limited production wine (just 74 cases). It is a blend of 81% Merlot, 15.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.5% Cabernet Franc. Darker berries than the 2008. Bigger notes of plums, blueberry, and dark cherries. Nice notes of vanilla, and red cassis. A lovely wine, with layers and layers of flavors and aromas. Can cellar this an easy 7 years no question. Loved it!
Mark Squires gave it an 89 at Wine Advocate!
I brought a bottle of this to my family's holiday celebration. A big hit at the table!

The Waters Crest Cabernet Franc 2010 ‘Grand Vin’ is an incredible wine. These bottles represent hand picked bunches, the best of the best, and then go through a second sorting process at the winery on crush day on the sorting table. This is a select wine for a reason. The wine is all kinds of cherry - Bing cherries, ripe cherries, and dark cherries, with a double dollop of cocoa and espresso. The wine was aged 21 months in 100% French Oak. Fantastic wine. Couldn't help myself. Drank the bottle I bought less than a week later.

The Waters Crest Cabernet Franc 2013 exhibited many of the same characteristics, except that the brighter notes of cherry were more prevalent. All though the color and depth truck me as slightly darker. Easy to drink now, but don't! Lay this bad boy down ASAP and don't touch for at least 7 years. It will absolutely reward you!!!!

Jim Waters won't be in Men's Journal anytime soon. Nor will he be leading the next avant guard wine movement. But he will be making some very, very special wines. And you need to make your way to his new tasting room, ask for Adam, and settle in for a powerful and impressive tasting! He's getting some very nice notices from some very good people in the business. If you haven't bubbled them up to the top of your tasting rounds, you need too!