On Sunday, my family and some friends enjoyed a glorious late-winter day on the North Fork. The sun was out, the weather was warm — and our kids were all well-behaved. We also tasted some terrific and interesting wines at some of our favorite wineries.
A visit to The Winemaker Studio in Peconic was one of the brightest spots of the day. Co-owner Anthony Nappa, who is also winemaker at Raphael, is making a varied portfolio under his eponymous label these days — everything from a Finger Lakes riesling to a steel-fermented cabernet franc to a varietal petit verdot to one of the best local viogniers I’ve had in years.
All of the wines I tasted were delicious and hunger-inducing (I always find his wines are at their best at the dinner table.) The real standout for me was my “wine of the week,” Anthony Nappa Wines 2013 Giallo ($40) a late- harvest, dessert-styled semillon.
Those semillon grapes, which were grown at Raphael, hung on the vines until December at which point they had dehydrated a bit and started to raisin. After they were hand-picked, the fruit was crushed and fermented by ambient yeast on the grape skins. The skin fermentation lasted three weeks before the wine was pressed off into old French oak barrels. The sat in those barrels un-topped and allowed to oxidize for two years.
Bottled unfiltered and unfined, the wine is noticeably cloudy – at turn off to some, but don’t fear the turbidity. Nutty deliciousness awaits. Only 55 cases were made.
The intentional oxidation is similar to how sherry is made and there are certainly some of the nutty, saline notes you’d expect, along with dried apricots, citrus peel and pear. There is a light sweetness here (48 g/L residual sugar) but it barely tastes sweet. The finish is long and nutty.
Rather than having it with traditional dessert, I think I’d be more likely to enjoy it with assorted cheeses, nuts and cured meats. And I’d serve it cool, rather than cold.