Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wolffer Estate 2003 Reserve Chardonnay  (Hamptons Long Island)

Wolffer Estate Vineyard

2003 Reserve Chardonnay
(Hamptons Long Island)

Most every Long Island producer grows or makes Chardonnay, but that doesn't mean that it's any good. Long Island Chardonnay tends to be inconsistent – both in terms of style and quality. Taste through the local Chardonnay offerings and you'll find everything from bright, crisp steel-fermented renditions to lush, complex barrel-born wines. Some producers even try – and fail – to make California-style Chards, which just doesn't work with our terroir. Our fruit tends to be lower in sugar and higher in acidity, so it's more conducive to Burgundian-style wines.

Wolffer Estate Vineyards, located in Sagaponack, NY is one of only three wineries located within the the Hamptons, Long Island appellation, which tends to be cooler than the more-populous North Fork of Long Island AVA. The growing season is ten days shorter in the Hamptons and silty – rather than sandy – loam and soils both make it well suited to white wine production.

Wolffer Estate's winemaker, German-born Roman Roth, produces three different levels or styles of Chardonnay – from fresh, mostly steel-fermented to rich and 100% barrel fermentation. The newly released Wolffer Estate 2003 Reserve Chardonnay ($20) is the style that falls in between, using both fermentation methods.

The 100% Chardonnay grapes for this wine were pressed and the juice was cooled to 50°. Fermented in 83% French Barrique and 17% in stainless steel tanks, malolactic fermentation only went to 80% and the wine matured surlees for eight months. 2020 cases were produced.

Light-to-medium gold in glass, the nose offers toasty oak, pear and toasted nut aromas. The medium-bodied palate is slightly toasty, but also fresh with crisp pear flavors, gentle acidity and leesy spiciness. The finish it is clean, slightly creamy and has a little chalky note at the very end.

Reviewed October 11, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

The Wine

Winery: Wolffer Estate Vineyard
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Reserve Chardonnay
Appellation: Hamptons Long Island
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $20.00

Review Date: 10/11/2006

The Reviewer

Lenn Thompson

Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,
Long Island Press, Long Island Wine Gazette, Edible East End
and Two words describe his taste in wine — balance and nuance. Lenn prefers food-friendly, elegant wines to jammy, over-extracted fruit bombs and heavy-handed oak. When reviewing, Lenn tastes each wine three times — alone right after opening, with food, and again the next day — believing that 90-second reviews are unrealistic and not how the average person enjoys wine.