There is no denying the part Pindar Vineyards founder Dr. Herodotus Damianos played in the creation and popularization of the Long Island wine industry. Known as Dr. Dan, Damianos first bought 30 acres of land in 1979. He planted it a year later and two years after that, Pindar Vineyards sold its first wines. Pindar Vineyards, and its sister winery Duck Walk Vineyards, have since grown to produce more than 100,000 cases per year.
Dr. Dan passed away in August of 2014 at the age of 82 and a few weeks ago, the winery released two wines — both from the 2014 vintage — meant to honor its founder.
One of those wines, Pindar Vineyards 2014 “Dr. Dan’s Signature Collections” Cabernet Sauvignon, is our “Wine of the Week.”
Ripening cabernet sauvignon — at least enough to bottle it as a varietal wine — isn’t a local staple. I can count on one hand the producers that can be relied upon for consistent quality cabernet sauvignon. Pindar isn’t among them, but this wine was a pleasant surprise in a recent tasting.
“2014 was a good vintage for us,” winemaker Edward Lovaas told me, adding “We had the vineyard under control.”
It shows. The fruit came in around 23 brix (brix being a measure of sugar levels) and the finished wine spent two years in oak barrels. Dark fruits — think blackberry and black currant — dominate a palate that centers more on acidity than big, chewy tannins, though it doesn’t lack structure. There are nice layers of spice and herbs as well, making this a wine well suited for lamb and beef dishes.
First released to wine club members, it’s now available to everyone else in the Peconic tasting room for $24.99.