A few weeks ago, I spent some time out in wine country, visiting a few vineyards tasting some new releases and enjoying the bounty that the North Fork has to offer.
One such place I had scheduled to visit was with Frank Scarola of Scarola Vineyards. I was first introduced to Frank’s wine a while back when I was working harvest with Shinn Estate Vineyards. David and Barbara opend a bottle of his 2005 Merlot and we were all blown away. Eyes wide open and mouths thirsty for more, we were firing descriptions back and forth about this wine. Our minds were going crazy trying to figure out how this wine was born.
Following that day I was on a mission to find Scarola wines somewhere any where…I just needed to have them. I was very excited a few weeks later when I met Frank at Shinn Estate Vineyards for a “Tweet Up” Frank had stoped by to caht with David & Barbara. He got mixed up in some beer tasting and wine tasting and then he was gone! I never got a chance to chat with him and talk to him about his wine.
I finally decided to e-mail Frank and see if he could help me out. (Like I had no doubt, I was contacting the man himself). He sent me an e-mail telling me that he could drop some off at my house or I could come out to his “wine country” project in Mattituck. He wanted to show me the Bed & Breakfast that he was putting together. Guess which option I chose.
The loation is not marked, there is no number on the house. It is this cute cedar house located on Sound Avenue, just east of Macari Vineyards and west of Leib Cellars. There are a few other “Barns” on the property, also finished in Cedar.
When I arrived Frank was walking around with the builder going over some plans of the site. When he was finished, Frank and I sat down and enjoyed a little conversation over a glass of his 2007 Chardonnay. This was a chardonnay I was digging. It was fermented for a few weeks in oak barrels, just enough to give it that edge. The Majority of it was in stainless steel. The acidity was srong and there was great fruit showing.
Frank then opened a bottle of his 2005 “Messeria” Merlot. Massera, means family farm in italian. Frank family is from Italy and he only came here to America in 1960. He keep his wine close to his heart and makes it in the old world style his family would have made it in Italy. The lable of Scarola Wins also pays hommage to his family’s arrival in the new world, America. The Goden Arch you see is reminiscent of teh arch at Ellis Island, where his family came through.
As I tasted this wine, it all came back those wonderful flavors and aroma’s I had back then. This, in my layman’s opinion, is the best merlot I have had to date. The price is right, the taste is right and now chatting with the man that created this wine cemented my opintion. I talked with Frank about the day I first had this and the questions that came up when Barbara, David and I were tasting it. Frank made me guess where this came from, and when I tell you, you may be as suprised by it as I was. This 2005 merlot was taken from a lot at Martha Clara. And it was picked after the rain that fell on long island for about 10 straigt day and droped about 20 inches.
While this wine was fermenting at Wolfer estate, under the eye of Roman Roth, Frank told me there was this aroma that was happening durng fermentation and aging. It was not a plesant odor, but Frank was un sure what to do with it…take a chance or disregard it. Then all of sudden, it was gone and it was geourgous! (A full review of this wine will appear later.)
We then went on to tour the soon to be Bed & Breakfast. All of this is still in the early working stages, nothing is final. Frank hopes to open in Spring 2010. It will be a wine theme B&B. There will be vines and grapes growing on the property. It is to small to be a fully operational vineyard. Frank wants you to feel as if you are on a vineyard.
Frank is also planning on hosting wine events and wine related events at the future bed & breakfast. Frank is also hoping to host your next party too, when the B&B opens.
Frank and I then walked around his property. He showed me the couple of barns on the land. The first barn from the house used to hold potatoes. When Frank opened the huge cedar door, that he held with his sholder, you coudl still get an aroma of potato. Frank has great ideas on what to do with these barns. Obviously, he will store wine. But he also has alot of great ideas of things to do for visitors and guests. Very innovative and exciting, I will be taking part in them for sure!
The next barn was a bit up the hill. This had a nice view and a perfect layout for…a wedding. I could totaly see a wedding here. The only issue might be parking. But if it were a small wedding or gathering like that, then it could happen. I would not mind being a guest at one wedding here!
Frank than showd me his thoughs and plans for planting some organicaly gronwn vines. He would make wine with it, but it would be small lots. This would be for show as well, to give you the feel of being on a vineyard, looking out and taking in all the beautiful views.
As we finished up the tour and the discussion on the location, i was very excited for Frank. I was excited to get my hands on some more great Scarola wine. But more importatanly I was excited for wht this bead & breakfast will mean fo for the north fork and Long Island Wine Region. Looking to the future, I can see my self at this location, helping Frank in any way and taking part in any activity he plans on holding.
Frank is one of the nicest guys I have met in this undertaking of mine. He is an idol of mine now, and there are alot of idols in my book, but he is at the top of the list.
Frank tells a story of when he first was inspired to make wine and venture out on the great Long Island. He read an article about some smaller winemaking folks in a New York Times article and thought to himself, (in so many words) Heck if they can do it why can’t I. And Frank Scarola did. After spending a good portion of the day with him, traveling back to his house to buy some wine, I too said to myself, “Why Can’t I”.
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