What To Drink Right Now: The World Class Wines of Paumanok Vineyards
Long Island’s East End has always been a great weekend escape for city dwellers, as well as a great day trip. With so many vineyards on the east end one might wonder which are worth the trip. I can assure you, if you want to visit a vineyard where the focus is on creating beautiful wines representative of Long Island’s unique terroir, Paumanok is not to be missed.
Paumanok was founded in 1983 by Charles and Ursula Massoud. Located on Main Road, or Route 25, in Aquebogue, the vineyard is well known for their world class Chenin Blanc, thought by many, me included, to be the best Chenin Blanc outside of France. And retailing at only $28, it is an affordable luxury. Paumanok also has a selection of other wines sure to tantalize a wide variety of palates.
I recently sampled their 2012 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Wow. Such a treat. With notes of citrus, pear and stone fruit, this sweet, yet fresh, and balanced wine would make a wonderful aperitif, a lovely dessert wine and it also drinks so very well on its own. Retailing at $39, this wine would make a great gift for the sweet wine drinkers in your life.
With the east end becoming such a tourist destination many vineyards are turning the wine experience into something much less focused on the wine. With loud music, cocktails, and other distractions some vineyards have adopted more of a night club atmosphere complete with bouncer-like security checking purses before entering.
While at Paumanok, the emphasis is still on the wine. The vineyard has both indoor and outdoor tasting areas in a lovely serene setting.
Paumaok is very much a family business with Charles and Ursula’s three sons now each involved in a different aspect of the business. Kareem, pictured above, is the winemaker and he attributes his great wine knowledge to what he learned from his father. His brother, Nabeel, is the vineyard manager and Salim is the office manager. With the family growing and expanding the Massouds thought it was time for the business to expand as well. Another nearby vineyard, whose emphasis has also been focused on the wine they produce, was recently for sale, Palmer Vineyards. The timing was right, so Paumanok purchased Palmer Vineyards.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Kareem recently at Paumanok and I asked him what this purchase would mean for both Paumnok and Palmer Vineyards. Kareem said, the branding would remain the same. This means, the Palmer brand would still be available and would still be labeled as Palmer Wines. The only change he said that would be implemented now was that he would be the winemaker for Palmer and that the state-of-the-art winemaking and bottling equipment, used at Paumanok, would be used for Palmer wines as well.
The vineyards are only a little over two miles apart, easy Kareem said, for him to travel back and forth between the two during a work day. Also, easy for wine lovers to visit each vineyard. They have several different varietals, so you won’t be drinking the same wine at both, but they have always shared the commitment to making great wine. Palmer is known for its lovely reds, rosé wines and its gorgeous veranda.