Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Tasting at McCall Vineyard - Incredible!!!

McCall Vineyards have been growing and selling Pinot Noir and Merlot on Long Island's North Fork since the mid 1990s in the hamlet of Cutchogue, where the McCall family have their home. In 1996 Russell McCall joined forces with the Peconic Land Trust to save Down's Woods, Fort Corchaug, and the farmland adjacent to his family's property from the threat of development, after which he replanted the corn and potato fields with twenty one acres of vineyards. A few years later, Mr. McCall purchased and gifted the North Fork Stewardship Center to the Peconic Land Trust in allegiance to their shared commitment. But it wasn't until the 2007 vintage that they used as their jumping off point. While many wineries may produce and sell as many wines as possible, they decided to go a simpler route.

McCall draws most of it's wines form the following two vineyards. Corchaug Estate Vineyard 
was planted in 1997 on land rescued from development that borders the historic Fort Corchaug site and Down's Woods preserve. The southern end of the vineyard is planted with 11 acres of four clones of Pinot Noir, and ten acres planted with three clones of Merlot.

Gristina Vineyard is across the main road and behind the Macari tasting room, which was a vineyard planted by Gristina in 1983. The neglected old vine Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay plantings were taken over by the McCalls in 2011. They added a block of Sauvignon Blanc in 2013 when they purchased the vineyard. 

The winemaking team is unique here at McCall. Long Island veteran winemaker Gilles Martin from Premium Wine Group makes almost all of the wines. For many years Hudson Valley winemaking star John Graziano of Millbrook Vineyards (owned by John Dyson, who is friends with the McCalls) has made all the stellar Pinot Noirs in the past. But only his 2010 Reserve remains in the McCall portfolio,

I have always been a fan of McCall but not always been able to get there when they were open. The last time I was out there, I finally got in the door! And what an absolute treat!

McCall Chardonnay Unoaked 2015 was the first I tried. This is a lovely, bright stainless steel fermented chardonnay, sustainably grown and hand harvested, which was crisp and clean, with hints of granny smith apples, fresh pears, and tropical fruits. 

McCall Chardonnay Reserve 2014 is a limited production wine made from Chardonnay grapes from our North Ridge Vineyard. The grapes were planted in 1982 by Dr. Gristina. The wines was aged for 14 months in semi-neutral French barrels. Ripe red apple and bosc pear are couched in fresh toast, vanilla and with a hint of nuttiness. Lovely tropical notes finish with a nice zip but also a final creamy note. Lovely!

The McCall Suvignon Blanc Cuvee Nicola 2013 was a bright, crisp, clean bright white. And the McCall Marjorie's Rose 2016 was a lovely dry rose bright with fresh bing cherries, lime, and cream. A classic lovely dry rose!

I will unabashedly tell you I am a hard core lover of McCall Pinot Noir. Absolutely love it.

The hand harvested McCall Pinot Noir 2013 delivers dark cherry and hints of strawberry and spice as promised in their tasting notes. Aged in French oak barrels, the wine has a nice tannins and layers of vanilla that balance out this soft, lovely Pinot Noir. 

McCall Pinot Noir Hillside 2013 is hand picked from the Hillside block of their Estate. This is made from late harvested grapes and aged in oak for 16 months. This is an incredibly layered wine, with big black cherry, complimented by strawberry, vanilla and spice. Spectacular!

McCall Pinot Noir 2010 Reserve is 100% Estate grown and hand selected McCall's low yield 11 acre vineyard. This wine was made by John Graziano at Millbrook Vineyards in the Hudson Valley. The grapes were trucked to him and the wine was made and stored there in oak, and then shipped back to McCall. Graziano uses partial whole-cluster fermentation, and a higher percentage of this pinot noir goes into new oak than any of the other wines. This wine was named "Best Pinot Noir in NY" at the 2013 NY Wine & Food Classic.  Rated 92 by Wine Enthusiast.

McCall Merlot Reserve 2010 is a small production wine from the Corchaug Estate explodes with dark black currents, and big dark cherries,. complimented by cocoa, tannins and spice. The wine was aged in a variety of variously aged French oak barrels for 16 months. A big, lovely Merlot!

McCall Cabernet Franc 2014  North Ridge Vineyard comes from the North Ridge Vineyard which was planted by Dr. Gristina more than 30 years ago. Lovely ripe cherry balanced by hints of cassis, violets, vanilla, earth, pepper and spice. A beautiful wine.

McCall Cabernet Franc Reserve 2013 North Ridge Vineyards is made using a blend of grapes usually found in the classic Bordeaux blends, The Cabernet Franc was planted by Dr. Gristina in 1982. Aged in French oak, this wine has dark cherry, hints of grass and graphite, as well as red cassis and vanilla. A lovely, easy drinking Cabernet Franc layered with fabulous flavors with every sip.

A couple I met while tasting who had jut returned from a wine vacation in Italy. McCall's was their first stop back in the region. A nice testament, no?

My visit to McCall Vineyards was an incredible tasting. The wines were sophisticated and beautifully layered. McCall Vineyard has always been seen as the small but high-end winery of the island. Their wines are incredible. They are a jewel on the North Fork, but then again, they would be the jewel in any region! Fantastic!