This weekend started early on Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.!! No rest for the weary! Pete and I jumped into the car and set off for an hour and a half drive out to Mattituck on Long Island’s North Fork. For our recent wedding my brother gave us a gift card for Adventure Cycles & Sports’ Bicycle Long Island Wine Country Tour. We booked in for a 10 a.m. start this past weekend.
The day started out beautifully with plenty of sunshine and warm but not too hot weather. As we turned off the Long Island Expressway and drove through Wine Country we were pleasantly surprised by the rural area with an abundance of farmers markets (I think I actually yelled out because I have been wanting to go to a farmers market ALL SUMMER LONG!) and a large number of wineries. Turning onto the main road, Love Lane, we were again struck by the quaint rural quality of the area.
After checking in with our guides for the day, Tom in the support vehicle and Juan on the bike, we headed off for the bulk of our ride. Our total distance was to be 16 miles but we started out with 8 miles right off the back (very smart considering this is a wine tasting tour). Tom and Juan did a perfect job of making sure everyone stayed together and knew what direction we needed to go. Safety was a priority and Tom had extra seats in the car if need be and also some room to store things like bags and any purchased wine.
There were eight of us on the tour and the cycling ability ranged from beginner to intermediate-advanced. We stayed at a nice casual pace for the beginning of the ride (later in the ride where there were stretches of empty road Pete and I were able to pick up our speed and really feel like we were getting an actual ride in). The casual pace worked well for us though because the ride was absolutely picturesque and we got a chance to take in the beautiful scenery!
The landscape reminded me very much of New England. After our eight mile ride we stopped at our first winery, Peconic Bay Winery.
The staff was very friendly at Peconic Bay and we settled in to our outdoor table overlooking the vineyard. After eight miles of biking, we were hungry and were happy to munch on the crackers, cheese and strawberries provided by our tour guide Tom as we sipped through six wines: a 2011 Steel Fermented Chardonnay, Natique Esprit de Blanc-a traditional oaked chardonnay, a dry Riesling, Nautique Esprit de Rouge-a red blend, Lot #4 and Lot #3- both reds one with a fruity flavor and the other with a strong mineral flavor.
Pete and I enjoyed the Lot #3 the best so we purchased a bottle of it for later! We then said goodbye to the friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere to head on to our next winery just a few short miles away.
We arrived at Bedell Winery just in time for lunch! Tom and Juan set up a beautiful spread for us by some picnic benches. Bedell had a fabulous picnic area that was absolutely pumping at this time of day! We had a choice of wraps-Caesar Salad, Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper and Fresh Mozzarella, and Roast Beef with Cheddar. Partnered with some pickles and pasta salad. It hit the spot after all the bike riding!
Oh sorry I got carried away with the photos. Just a few more 😉
O.k. o.k. After snapping about a million photos (can you blame me!? Its so picturesque! The winery was actually closing a bit early because they were setting up for a wedding that afternoon!), we went inside for our tasting. We tasted five wines: a Sparkling Rose, Taste White (a Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Viognier blend), Gallery (a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier blend), Taste Red (a Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec blend), and Musee, their flagship (a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot blend). I enjoyed the Sparkling Rose but Pete and I both agreed on the Gallery and decided to purchase it to enjoy with Pete’s parents when they visit in December!
We then enjoyed the scenery some more and saw the inner workings of the winery before heading back to our bikes for the final winery, Shinn Estate Vineyards.
What this winery lacked in scenery compared to the other two it made up for in its wines. We enjoyed the wines here the best. Shinn had a great system where they gave you a choice between two wines for each tasting round. Because we were all traveling in couples on our tour, we all ended up being able to taste 8 (that’s right 8!) wines at this winery. We really got to experience their range. We tried Coalescence (a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer), Chardonnay, First Fruit Sauvignon Blanc, Skin Fermented Chardonnay, Rose, Red Blend, Estate Merlot, Wild Boar Doe (a play on words of the winery’s version of a Bordeaux) and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Pete and I enjoyed a few of these wines. Pete liked the Chardonnay while I enjoyed the First Fruits Sauvignon Blanc. We both like the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Estate Merlot and I enjoyed the Rose. We ended up purchasing the Estate Merlot.
It was then time to ride back and head for home around 4 p.m. after a full day of tasting! We had such a wonderful time and thanked our guides, Juan and Tom profusely for the amazing day!
Back on Love Lane, Pete and I beelined for the Village Cheese Shop we saw earlier in the day.
I mentioned the plethora of farmers markets Pete and I saw on the way into Mattituck. Having finished our wine tour and having some time to kill before heading to dinner, we hit up a local farmer’s market. Oh the fruit, the produce, the PUMPKINS!
Doesn’t it make your mouthwater just looking at the produce!?!
Pete and I finally headed to dinner at The Old Mill Inn for a seafood feast! We enjoyed a dinner of mussels, lobster roll and seared tuna salad before jumping in the car and heading back to the city. After this epic day I was asleep in my bed by 10 p.m. and didn’t wake for 11 full hours!! Amazing day!
Readers, have you been out enjoying the end of summer/beginning of fall?