Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay is our ‘Wine of the Week’

Paumanok Vineyards 2013 barrel fermented charddonay. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Paumanok Vineyards’ 2013 barrel fermented charddonay. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Paumanok Vineyards winemaker Kareem Massoud gets a lot of attention for his aversion to natural cork. All of his white wines are bottled under screwcaps, along with all but the most high-end of his reds (which are available under screwcaps as well as corks).

He’s also earned a lot of attention among customers and the Long Island Wine Press for the winery’s chenin blanc (Eric Asimov from The New York Times is a fan), and, to a lesser extent, his riesling program. Massoud’s 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling won “Best White Wine” in the Finger Lakes Riesling-heavy New York Wine & Food Classic last summer.

He makes chardonnay, too. Four different ones, in fact. I tasted each for an upcoming Wine Press story about Long Island chardonnay and while each had its charms, the one I kept going back to and tasting was this week’s wine of the week, Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, which was fermented in oak and then aged in the same barrels for seven additional months.

I have a reputation within the local industry for, among other things, not loving chardonnay. Particularly oaky chardonnay. Here though, the barrel notes – which show themselves as a toasty, nutty edge rather than overt woody or vanilla or butterscotch flavors – accent rather than overwhelm a solid core of ripe apple and lemon flavors. There are subtle floral notes here, too.

That time in the barrel seems to have been just enough for the wine to relax a bit. The palate is broader and more mouth-filling than its no-oak cousin (Festival Chardonnay) but doesn’t lose any of the great, citrusy acidity that slices through the nuanced richness and concentration.

Make sure you drink wines of this style a bit closer to room temperature than you probably have in the past. When they’re too cold, any complexity is muted and the acidity becomes a bit hard. At almost room temperature, this wine opened beautifully, pairing wonderfully with a simple roast chicken and roasted root vegetables.

Best of all, this wine is a good value at $24 at the Aquebogue winery.

Lenn Thompson