The North Fork has gone from “Hamptons Lite” to a destination all its own in recent years. And, unlike the South Fork, things only heat up after Labor Day. Harvest fests, pumpkin picking, Briermere pies and yes, award-winning wines have people going North for the weekend.
Hidden in plain sight on Main Road, Sherwood House Vineyards has remained North Fork insiders best-kept secret. The vineyard boasts an intimate boutique atmosphere, small production wines to write home about and a cult following of in-the-know wine trail frequenters.
Pulse has uncorked three reasons to join them.
A Hidden Gem
Set in a renovated 1870 Tuthill farmhouse, hidden in a park-like nook on Main Road in Jamesport and artfully adorned with reclaimed finishes and a curated collection of antiques, Sherwood House Vineyards exudes a charming rustic elegance. Beyond the main tasting room, with its eye-catching barn wood bar and original fireplace, multiple smaller rooms and beautiful garden spaces allow guests to sip, savor and sit back in an intimate atmosphere. To catch the best of the fall weather, sit and relax outside on the boxwood-lined manicured patio and enjoy a flight served table side, or for a more laid-back atmosphere step out back to the garden with friends to enjoy a bottle.
There’s plenty of local, too, and not just the wines. The walls are home to works of artists provided by the vineyard’s neighbors William Ris East art gallery and local musicians of varying genres provide the soundtrack to guests’ weekends. It’s no wonder wine-club members make Sherwood their home away from home, with a complementary glass of their favorites on arrival and an everybody-knows-your-name type atmosphere.
With its gorgeous interiors and décor, small size and intimate atmosphere, this truly boutique winery is in a league of its own. Without the busses or traffic, you’ll rethink what a winetasting experience on the North Fork can be.
Some of the East-End’s Most Exciting New Wines
While Sherwood has been making award-winning wines since 1996, the recent introduction of Hound’s Tree at the tasting room has had winos buzzing! Co-located with Sherwood, this newest East End winery and young winemaker takes a contemporary spin on classic North Fork wines with exciting results that challenge expectations for the region. Even Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator have caught on, hailing them as some of the best new wines on Long Island, with 90 point reviews and Top Pick recognition.
When asked about the buzz, tasting room manager Rachel Sunday and general manager Matthew Brown said that it has been exciting to pour these wines side-by-side with the Sherwood Classics. Both are produced from the same fruit on the estate vineyard allowing guests to experience both the difference in winemaking style and the inherent similarity from the fruit. According to Brown, “Chardonnay is a great wine for this. Our Sherwood Estate Chardonnay is classic and barrel fermented with a lot of nice texture. The Hound’s Tree Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel, so is crisp and floral. But they both have similarities with notes of pear and white currant.”
This fall, consider adding the Hound’s Tree Cabernet Franc to a flight (or picking up a bottle or two to take home!). Perfect for the season, it’s ripe and red fruited with cherry, cranberry and spice aromas that put fall in the glass.
There’s Always a Reason to Come Back
As if new wines, artworks and musicians weren’t enough to keep things interesting, Sherwood always has something new to match the season. In spring it might be new rosés and release parties. In the winter the fireplace will be roaring. There will be fondue nights and chocolate pairings for Valentine’s Day but Brown and Sunday said harvest is Sherwood House Vineyards’ favorite season of all.
“It’s such a beautiful time of year on the North Fork, the sun is out, the leaves are changing, everything is just perfect,” Brown said. “There is so much going on in the vineyard and at the winery; it’s a great opportunity to connect quests with that harvest experience.”
This fall Sherwood has been serving a selection of Pet-Nats, the trendy naturally sparkling wines popping up in a handful of North Fork wineries (and hip wine shops). Petillant-Naturel meaning naturally sparkling is a modern resurrection of an ancient winemaking practice by which the very first sparkling wines were made. While most sparkling wines are made by taking finished still wine and inducing a second fermentation in the bottle, Pet-Nat wines are bottled directly at the end of primary fermentation, trapping the last bits of CO2 and all the fresh fruit and fermentation aromas right in the bottle.
“It’s a great way for us to share that experience of harvest in the winery–these wines go straight from vine to glass in a matter of days,” said Brown.
They have also had fresh grapes from the vineyard available to sample at the tasting room, with berries available to taste alongside the wines made from them. For heartier fare there’s also always a rotating selection of artisanal cheeses which match perfectly with the wines.
“All the new wines and harvest is a lot of fun,” said Brown. “But what I’m really excited for as we get a bit later in the season is some of our new releases of reserve red wines and our Sherwood XO Brandy, which spend more time in the cellar and which we start to release as we get closer to the holidays.”
Of course, we’ll be back to try them!