I first heard of Channing Daughters Winery a few months back when I was looking into wineries who were leaning towards sustainable, organic and biodynamicpractices out in Long Island, NY. Channing Daughters continued to sequentially pop into my life, either via wine lists at various restaurants, wine stores, and finally podcasts.
Long Island is slowly transitioning into organic practices with their first certified organic wine produced last year (June 2017.) A few farmers produce a small quantity of organic and biodynamic wine that isn’t really distributed out to the city. But there are a handful of certified sustainable wineries, which possibly is a step in the right direction. Sustainable/organic foods overall can be a hot button issue and I try not to lean 100% towards one way or another. I simply don’t want to drink something chock full of chemicals that vineyard predators wouldn’t even touch.
A few weekends ago (with hesitation), I convinced my Aunt who has lived in Long Island for over 30 years to try a new winery. She has been fortunate enough to watch the Long Island wine community grow into what it is today but has her tired and true favorite wineries. Last summer I convinced her to visit a winery which has been around for many years. Long story short, we were not impressed. Mainly because we had less of a hospitable experience than we would at one of the wineries we frequently visit. This year I was reluctant to suggest a visit to a new winery after my attempt to get my family to try something a new spot last year.
Good thing I tried again!
Channing Daughters blew us away. Beyond having extraordinary wines and vermouth (more on that later), the staff was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, and most importantly friendly. Anthony their wine attendant had a lot to do with our experience.
Baby Grapes, July 2017
We ran through a tasting of only a few of their extensive production of wines. I’ve never seen so many grape varieties at one winery, currently growing over 20. From classics like Chardonnay and Merlot to Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Blaufränkisch.
Everything we tried was perfectly balanced, there were a few standouts!
2014 Meditazione skin contact white. 36% Pinot Grigio, 21% Muscat Ottonel, 14% Chardonnay, 13% Tocai Friulano, 7% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Pinot Bianco and 4% Gewurztraminer. Fragrant overripe peach, nectarine, lychee, bitter orange peel, boxed raisins.
First time my Aunt ever tried a skin contact white! This wine is not what I would call a beginners “orange” wine, although it is indeed orange. The grape varieties themselves scream obscurity. Not something I think my Aunt would find palatable, but somehow this blend was gorgeous. She loved it so much she brought a bottle home to my Uncle. Which is a monumental move for my family!
2014 Blaufrankish. 75% Blaufrankisch and 25% Dornfelder. Black fruits, game, high acid, tar, mild tannins.
2016 Petit Verdot. 100% Petit Verdot. High acid/tannin tomato skins, rose, forest floor blackberry.
2017 Rosso Fresco. 76% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 8% Blaufrankisch, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Teroldego. Super crushable, light cherries juicy not super complex, simply delicious.
I had no idea Channing Daughters made vermouth before our visit. They had a few variations based on six growing seasons out in the island, with botanicals all grown locally. Flavor profiles ranging from jalapeños to plum. My favorite was Variation 5 (their late summer white), made with musk melon, peaches, flowering basil, flowering dill, lemon balm, papalo, lemon verbena. Which was fermented dry and reminded me of Sherry.
I loved every moment at Channing Daughters, and can’t wait to go back!