Martha Clara Vineyard
On a beautiful Friday afternoon, I took a trip to the North fork of Long Island. This area of Long island is a gorgeous stretch of A.O.C. wineries, produce farms and horse ranches. Roughly 2/3rds of New York wines come from the Finger Lakes located upstate. New York is most often recognized as a white wine producing state however Long Island is mostly known for their red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. (Starwood)
On my trip, I decided to visit Martha Clara Vineyard. When I entered, my eyes were immediately drawn to the relaxing, country décor and many display cases of local honeys, jams and cheeses. This gave me a full sense of community.
After drifting into the tasting room, I was approached by a very professional and friendly gentleman by the name of Travis. Travis was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the vineyard the Viticulture and Vinification.
He began by telling me the Vineyard was founded by the Entenmann’s family (yes, the delicious, buy one get one free cakes you can’t resist while food shopping). After this tid-bit of information I truly fell in love. Originally the farm was a thoroughbred horse ranch, it soon transformed into a vineyard to compete with the neighbors.
Travis went on to tell me that Long Island had wonderful growing conditions due to its sandy loam soil and its maritime sea breezes that naturally aerate the vineyards. Sandy soils are beneficial to vineyards because of its ability to drain well and hold in heat. It also naturally helps the plants stay pest free encouraging greener growing techniques. (MacNeil)The vines a grown at mid-wire cordon training system.
They have a wide variety of grapes that have had great success in this regions soil and climate. These include:
Whites- -Semillon -Gewurztraminer
-Viognier -Pinot Grigio
-Riesling -Sauvignon Blanc
Reds– -Cab Sauvignon -Merlot
-Cabernet Franc -Malbec
He explained how they ferment their wine in large double layered stainless-steel tanks. Between the layers or steel a coolant is pumped through to regulate the temperature of the wine during this process. The idea is to conserve the delicate aromas that can potentially be lost if the fermentation process is at too high of a temperature. (Zraly) When the fermentation is complete the then transfer their wine in to oak aging barrels.
While speaking with Travis a few guests started to trickle in and I started to eaves drop and watch the service of a wine tender named Brienne. I could tell that she really knew the ins and out of the products they offered the guests. I could tell be the graceful way she opened a fresh bottle of Merlot that she was veteran of the business. The knowledge and professionalism of the staff was top notch.
The most popular wines sold at Martha Clara are:
Northville Red Blend, this would pair great with Bison. Medium Acid with a lean red protein.
Chardonnay Island Series Reserve, Light and sweet and would pair nicely with cheeses and seafood.
Sauvignon Blanc Island Series, Light and dry and would pair nicely with salads and shellfish.
It was refreshing to meet normal, down to earth people at the Martha Clara vineyard. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and it seemed that educating the guests about the wine itself was equally as important as serving it.
Starwood, J.T. (2009). Long Island Wine Country. Guilford, Connecticut: Morris Book Publishing, LLC
Zraly, K. (2010). Windows on the World, Complete Wine Course. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company
MacNeil, K. (2016) The Wine Bible. New York, NY: Workman Publishing Co.