New York Times

20 Wines Under $20: Reds for Winter Moods and Foods

Channing Daughters Long Island Rosso Fresco 2015 $17.99

Like Wölffer Estate, Channing Daughters is based on the South Fork of Long Island, yet the estates could not be more different. Wölffer takes a more classical approach, but Channing is joyfully experimental, growing an eclectic range of grapes not otherwise seen on Long Island. The ’15 Rosso Fresco incorporates some of these — blaufränkisch and dornfelder along with merlot, syrah and cabernet franc. It’s bright, vividly fruity and floral, and absolutely delicious.

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—Eric Asimov

Impressionism in a Glass

...complexities suggest the dabs and streaks of colors in Impressionist paintings... 

Christopher Tracy has turned the Bridgehampton cellar in which he makes Channing Daughters whites into a kind of artist’s studio. Even when simple, these dry wines aren’t monochromatic; their complexities suggest the dabs and streaks of colors in Impressionist paintings. 

An experimenter, Mr. Tracy addresses each vintage’s unique characteristics by shifting the proportions of the grapes used in blends and by calibrating the flavor relationships and accents, seemingly in restrained fashion. These wines have uniformly long aftertastes. 

This approach explains why, year by year, Mr. Tracy’s portfolio of boutique whites, influenced by food-oriented styles in northern Italy, is Long Island’s most ambitious. 

Channing Daughters’ prettily aromatic, appetite-whetting 2008 pinot grigio ($20), made with a dollop of chardonnay, has an elusive mintiness. The attractively hearty 2008 tocai Friulano ($24), produced from grapes from the Mudd West Vineyard, on the North Fork, evokes a late-summer melon. 

Mr. Tracy’s zippy, creamy, palate-cleansing 2008 Scuttlehole chardonnay (a good buy at $16) is faintly figgy and pearlike. Produced in steel, it avoids the oak-barrel influences that have diminished the popularity of overly wooded chardonnays. 

Channing Daughters’ 2008 Sylvanus ($24) is a masterly field blend: it uses muscat ottonel, pinot grigio and pinot bianco grapes that were farmed, picked and fermented together. The wine has a charming flower garden scent and flavors swirling with subtleties. 

The weighty, refreshing 2007 Vino Bianco (a $20 bargain) is a triumph of blending: tocai Friulano, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and grapes from two different chardonnay clones. It delivers a sweet bouquet and, in the glass, hints of honey and herbaceousness.

—Howard G. Goldberg

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Rosés and Sauvignon Blancs

Howard Goldberg writes up Channing Daughters' 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and 2008 Tre Rosati.

Grassy young sauvignon blancs evoke springtime, and vivacious young rosés herald summer afternoons. Last month’s blast of premature hot weather induced me to sample both from the 2008 vintages of Macari and Channing Daughters. 

At its best, Macari’s spirited sauvignon blanc can be wonderful. The latest version, called Katherine’s Field ($21.99), is delicious. Like top-flight New Zealand sauvignons, this wine delivers a seductive cut-grass aroma and flavor. The scent and taste are also redolent of melons, and a gooseberry-like tartness suggests a sophisticated gin-and-tonic. 

Channing Daughters’ winning Mudd Vineyard sauvignon blanc ($20), the color of pale brass with a greenish cast, is subtler. Soft and round, clean and zippy, it tastes slightly of asparagus and green beans. It would make a fit accompaniment to hot or cold pea or sorrel soup. 

Almost all rosés are frivolous, but some are seriously frivolous, especially at Channing Daughters. 

In cool growing seasons like those of 2008, the acidity in grapes at harvest tends to stay high — a boon for the refreshing rosés that James Christopher Tracy makes there. 

Taking his cue from the food-friendly wines of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in northeastern Italy, he produces three dry $17 rosés, each from different grapes. He calls the program Tre Rosati. 

The cabernet sauvignon rosato, from Mudd grapes, is almost a red wine. Its aroma brings summer roses to mind; its flavor, baby strawberries. The merlot rosato (also Mudd) is soft, a little plush and easygoing. The cabernet franc rosato, from Croteau Farm Vineyard fruit, has an almost sweet aroma; it is lean, feather-light and graceful.

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Excitement in a Bottle

In his March 9 column, Howard Goldberg calls Channing Daughters the East End's most cutting-edge estate and it's 2006 Meditazione a “masterly feat of blending.” 

Channing Daughters aptly names one of its white blends Envelope. The Bridgehampton winery’s Web site explains, “We will continue to push the envelope of what is possible in our vineyards, our cellar and our region.” 

Its grape-growing, grape-buying and experimental cellar work has made Channing Daughters the East End’s most cutting-edge estate. Its winemaker, James Christopher Tracy, who is also a partner, brings his sensibility as a trained chef to blends that are exciting when they succeed and interesting even when they do not. 

Although I last wrote about the winery in December, I could not ignore the latest releases. 

The appetite-whetting 2007 Mudd Vineyard sauvignon blanc ($20), named for the fruit’s source in Southold, is lightly herbaceous and delivers a kiwi-like bite. It consists of 97 percent sauvignon grapes and 3 percent chardonnay musqué grapes. (Musqué is a strain that yields a seductive muscatlike scent.) 

Though disjointed, the brass-colored 2006 Envelope ($40) is provocative. Its 30 percent gewürztraminer overwhelms its 70 percent chardonnay. The wine is splashy, spicy and raisiny. 

Channing Daughters takes inspiration from the zippy, fruity whites of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region in northeastern Italy. Mr. Tracy’s Meditazione ($40) mimics vino da meditazione — meditation wine, designed to woo the intellect as well as the digestive system. The 2006 edition, a liquid fruit salad, is a masterly feat of blending. Consider these percentages: tocai Friulano (36), pinot grigio (25), sauvignon blanc (17), chardonnay (10.3), muscat ottonel (9.5), viognier (1.2) and malvasia bianca (1). 

Mr. Tracy has written that Meditazione smells and tastes of dried apricots, citrus oil, crushed rocks, white flowers, light caramel and brown spice, with notes of chamomile tea and cider. That might be an understatement. 

Channing’s wines sell out fast; walk-in customers are limited to two bottles of Meditazione. 

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East End's New Editions

In Howard Goldberg's year end New York Times column he writes that In the stream of East End white wines tasted this year, the most consistently vivacious ones came from Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton...

In the stream of East End white wines tasted this year, the most consistently vivacious ones came from Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton. This South Fork boutique and its winemaker, James Christopher Tracy, have delved so deeply into vineyard and cellar experimentation that every vintage brings new expectations. 

Mr. Tracy, a trained chef, acutely understands how wines must be fashioned to heighten interest in meals as aperitifs and accompaniments. 

Channing Daughters’ principal partners, Walter Channing and his chief executive, Larry Perrine, evidently have let Mr. Tracy have his way. His whites, which never disappoint, pointedly are inspired by the light-bodied but complex style of their counterparts in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a wine region in northeastern Italy. 

A downside is that many of the Italian-style whites can be difficult to find; they sell out fast. Overall annual production of all Channing Daughters wines, white and red, comes to a modest 7,000 cases; many are allocated to members of the estate’s wine club, who agree to buy two bottles six times a year. 

Other consumers need to stay alert, checking for news about periodic releases and quickly visiting the tasting room or wine stores and restaurants that stock bottles from the portfolio. 

Despite vintage variations, the quality and style of these whites have remained dependable. If you lose out on a release, the next one in the genre will probably taste good. 

An abundant supply of the widely available 2006 Vino Bianco ($29) is most likely to carry over well into the new year. In 2008, look for new editions of three blends — Sylvanus, Mosaico and Vino Bianco — as well as the Mudd Vineyard sauvignon blanc, regular sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio.

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You Say Roses, They Say Rosati

Howard Goldberg writes up the new 2006 Tre Rosati and calls the 2006 Mosaico one of the most sophisticated dry whites ever created on Long Island and one of New York State’s great 2006 wines.

Although most wineries are content to produce one rosé, or none, Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton offers a handful of rosati, to use the Italian term the winery favors. 
In keeping with his preference for dry food-oriented wines characteristic of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, James Christopher Tracy, the wine maker, labels them Tre Rosati — three rosés — to emphasize that they form a trio. Each is $17, and each is distinctive, using grapes from different North Fork vineyards, separately vinified in steel tanks to preserve fruitiness and pizazz. 

All three are enticing and, with a glowing salmon-pink color, strikingly decorative in sunlight. A light chill brings out the fruitiness; iciness would waste everything. The tiny production — about 800 cases were made altogether — almost certainly will vanish by early summer. 

My favorite, by a shade, is the merlot rosato, from McCall Vineyard (Cutchogue) grapes. Almost a light red wine, it is round, creamy and redolent of strawberries. Mr. Tracy, a former chef, recommends pouring it with wild striped bass, shrimp, roast chicken, grilled sausages and tomatoes with mozzarella. 

His cabernet franc rosato from the Croteau Farm Vineyard (Southold) offers a charming aroma and flavor. Its piquancy shows off a light raspberry-strawberry flavor. It begs for casual sipping; Mr. Tracy suggests serving it with oysters and clams, white-fleshed fish, vegetables, salads and ham. 

The cabernet sauvignon rosato from Mudd Vineyard (Southold) is virtually full-bodied and carries the strength of a light red. Its aroma of tea roses is beguiling, and fresh acidity gives it digestive power. Pair it, Mr. Tracy says, with “heartier fare from the grill”: beef, lamb, chicken, pork, lobster, salmon, tuna, vegetables and mushrooms. 

As beguiling as the rosati are, none of them matches the culinary artistry of Channing Daughters’ newest wine, Mosaico, one of the most sophisticated dry whites ever created on Long Island and one of New York State’s great 2006 wines. 

This thrilling and technically daring $29 blend consists of pinot grigio (34 percent), chardonnay (33 percent), sauvignon blanc (14 percent), tocai Friulano (7 percent), gewürztraminer (6 percent) and muscat ottonel (6 percent). It’s a ritzy fruit salad in a bottle.

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Channing Charmers

Howard Goldberg writes up the new Channing Daughters releases- 2005 Meditazione, 2005 Blaufrankisch and 2006 Sauvignon Blanc.

The wines that James Christopher Tracy makes at Channing Daughters, in Bridgehampton, may not yet be the most polished on Long Island, but they are the most provocative. This chef-turned-winemaker packs more flavor surprises into his whites, especially, than anyone else. 

Walter Channing, the owner, has made Mr. Tracy and Mr. Tracy’s wife, Allison Dubin, the general manager, minority partners at Channing Daughters. 

A risk-taker, Mr. Tracy succeeds with his 2005 Meditazione ($40), his second vintage of a white based on vino da meditazione, native to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in northeastern Italy. 

This golden-hued dry “meditation wine,” made from tocai Friulano, chardonnay, pinot grigio, muscat ottonel, sauvignon blanc, viognier, sémillon and malvasia bianca grapes, captivates the palate and the intellect. 

With merely 58 cases made and a three-bottle limit per customer, the wine won’t go far. Lucky buyers will experience an enigmatic, tangy richness. Mr. Tracy said he would pair the wine with pork loin, squash ravioli, mushroom-and-bacon risotto and aged Gouda. 

His intensely flavorful, light-bodied 2006 Mudd Vineyard sauvignon blanc ($20), made with fruit from vines planted in 1975 in Southold, is also beguiling. It contains a small amount of aromatic musqué-clone chardonnay. The tropical grapefruit-like flavor offers a long, rewarding finish. 

The sauvignon blanc pairs well with shellfish, all sorts of white-fleshed fish, asparagus, eggs and fresh goat’s-milk cheese, Mr. Tracy said. 

Perhaps no red on Long Island is more experimental than Mr. Tracy’s dry blaufränkisch ($25). (The grape and wine are mainstream in Austria and in Hungary, where it is called kekfrankos; also known as lemberger, it is popular in Washington State and in the Württemberg region of Germany.) 

Smoky, spicy, awash in the flavors of macerated dark berries and licorice accents, the ruby 2005 edition is invitingly gamy, with a softness that may come from the 25 percent infusion of merlot. 

Mr. Tracy would pour the blaufränkisch with mushrooms, a variety of game, goulash and Wiener schnitzel. Myself, I’d have it with goulash. 

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Young Blends of Long Island

The latest editions of two white blends from Channing Daughters, in Bridgehampton, the 2005 Sylvanus and 2005 Vino Bianco, are especially complex. Both are inspired by blends of Friuli, in northeastern Italy, whose regional cuisine requires quicksilver whites. 

DRY blends, red and white, are a significant part of the East End’s portfolio of wines. 

The latest editions of two white blends from Channing Daughters, in Bridgehampton, the 2005 Sylvanus and 2005 Vino Bianco, are especially complex. Both are inspired by blends of Friuli, in northeastern Italy, whose regional cuisine requires quicksilver whites. 

Both wines need time to unfurl. In their current youthful state, which is dominated by a fresh, appetite-quickening acidity, they are as versatile as whites can be for fish and shellfish. 

James Christopher Tracy, Channing Daughters’ winemaker, aims for excellence with his exceptionally ambitious Vino Bianco ($29). It consists of 22 percent sauvignon blanc, 26 percent early ripening Dijon-clone chardonnay, 18 percent musqué-clone chardonnay, 16 percent pinot grigio (pinot gris) and 18 percent tocai Friulano. 

As every cook knows, the more ingredients, the riskier the recipe. As usual, Mr. Tracy, a chef and a perfectionist, succeeds; the blend is seamless. Vino Bianco’s swirl of flavors comes across best when the wine is well chilled. Its aroma is heightened by use of the spicy musqué clone of chardonnay. The grapefruity finish on this light-bodied sipping wine invites a second glass. 

While Vino Bianco contains grapes from a number of vineyards, fermented separately and then blended, Sylvanus is a so-called field blend: the grapes were grown, harvested, pressed and vinified together. Sylvanus ($24) consists of 43 percent muscat Ottonel, 44 percent pinot grigio and 13 percent pinot bianco (pinot blanc). Tangy, virtually a citric fruit salad in a glass, it cries out for shellfish. 

As for reds, the Long Island Merlot Alliance has released its first collective wine, the 2004 Merliance. A blend of merlots by Pellegrini, Raphael, Sherwood House, Shinn and Wölffer, it costs $35 at each winery. 

The alliance seeks to promote the Island’s merlot, which many consider the area’s signature red, and to define a model for the wine. The 2004 is in a quiet, closed phase; it needs six more months’ bottle aging to bloom.

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East End Days

Howard Goldberg writes up the 2005 Cuvee Tropical Chardonnay, 2005 Pinot Grigio and 2005 Tocai Friulano.

On a July afternoon, if you could step magically into Fairfield Porter's peaceful summer paintings in the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, you would want to take a glass of a Channing Daughters white from Bridgehampton. 

Three newly released 2005's — the Channing Perrine Cuvée Tropical, pinot grigio and tocai Friulano — seem made for repasts that Porter's subjects could have served on the languorous East End days he portrayed. 

As a chef and sommelier, Channing's winemaker, James Christopher Tracy, produces appetite-sharpening whites inspired by the quicksilver whites of Friuli Venezia-Giulia in northeastern Italy. 

His latest releases deliver pleasurable drinking, with pretty aromas; fruitiness tending toward subtlety, and long, crisp finishes. 

The Cuvée Tropical will jolt and then woo buyers whose idea of chardonnay has been shaped by heavy butterscotch-and-vanilla versions from California. Light and delicate, this prototypical Northeastern chardonnay ($17) reflects Long Island's cool conditions and Channing's measured stylistic choices. Its tautness is reminiscent of a Chablis. 

The grapes, from 31-year-old vines in the Mudd Vineyard in Southold, are a clone called chardonnay musqué, which yields an attractive muscat-like scent. (The name Perrine on the bottle's neck label refers to Larry Perrine, who owns Channing Daughters with Walter Channing.) 

Mr. Tracy's pinot grigio ($18) puts to shame the insipid ones that stream out of Italy. It is an ideal aperitif. 

The tocai Friulano ($24), as light as a patch of cirrus cloud, is an understated wine that is likely to blossom soon. Channing Daughters made only 146 cases, and they are likely to disappear quickly.

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Three Roses, One Winery

As warm weather arrives, rosés spring up like crocuses on the East End. Not content with parenting only one new rosé, as many wineries do, the innovative Channing Daughters Winery has produced three. 

Its cabernet sauvignon version comes from grapes farmed at the Mudd Vineyard, and its cabernet franc version is from the Coteau Farm Vineyard, both in Southold; the merlot version is from the McCall Vineyard in Cutchogue. 

Though the lipstick hues and culinary purposes of these 2005 rosés may seem frivolous, the wines are artfully made and serious. Tasted side by side at the same cool (not icy) temperatures, they show their differences vividly. 

In flavor, freshness and application, these $17 rosés are closer to whites than reds. Because some Channing Daughters whites are modeled on frisky counterparts from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region in northeastern Italy, the winery calls its new program Tre Rosati (Three Rosés). 

The winery, in Bridgehampton on the South Fork, labels each version rosato. Its winemaker, James Christopher Tracy, a former sommelier and a chef, would approve if you poured his rosati, all bone dry, with Italian food. But he encourages their use with various fish, shellfish, summer vegetables, goat cheeses and meat dishes. 

The wines range in use from "the raw bar to the grill, from the picnic table to the dinner table," he said in an e-mail note. 

The shades of pink in rosés give a room charm. I put Mr. Tracy's three on my white dining room table so that the morning sun will turn them neon. 

My favorite is the cabernet sauvignon. Wonderfully aromatic, almost fleshy, full-bodied, juicy, a bit complex and delivering a long finish, this pink drink is delicious — almost gulpable, as rosé enthusiasts say. 

The pink merlot, like many of its dark-ruby siblings, is soft, round, on the full side and spicy. A day after it was opened its enticing bouquet resembled a sweet pastry. 

The cabernet franc, coral-and-salmon colored, was austere, somewhat steely and tart. A delicate wine with distant berry flavors, it is the sharpest appetite-awakener of the group. 

Mr. Tracy said the source vineyards were managed or owned by Steve Mudd. The fruit from each "seemed to beg to be made into rosati: beautiful, different expressions of site and grape, texture and flavor," he added. 

Incidentally, Jeff Morgan, a former resident of Cutchogue and the author of "Rosé: A Guide to the World's Most Versatile Wine" (Chronicle Books, 2005), traces his interest in the subject to Larry Perrine, Channing Daughters' president and chief executive. 

Mr. Morgan, who makes SoloRosa rosé in the Napa Valley, writes in the introduction that his "New York wine guru," Mr. Perrine, "got me started with barrel-fermented rosé," when both worked for the former Gristina Vineyards in Cutchogue — now the Galluccio Family Wineries. Mr. Perrine was its founding winemaker. HOWARD G. GOLDBERG

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Not Enough, But Tasty

THERE is good and bad news from Channing Daughters Winery. The good news is that its 2005 sauvignon blanc is one of the finest Long Island has produced in a decade and there is an ample supply — for now. The bad news is that its 2004 Meditazione, a mind-bogglingly complex seven-grape white blend, is sold out. 

The sauvignon blanc grapes in the Channing Perrine sauvignon ($18) came from vines planted at Mudd Vineyard, in Southold, in 1975; they are among the Island's oldest. (Perrine is Larry Perrine, the president and chief executive of the winery, in Bridgehampton.) 

The bouquet and flavor are enchanting, partly because of the effect of 17 percent musqué chardonnay. Musqué is a clone that delivers a muscatlike effect. 

The sauvignon is a whirligig of tropical-fruit aromas and flavors, notably grapefruit, and of coconut notes and herbs. 

Sip after sip, the bright acidity zings the palate, cleansing it for the next appetite-sharpening round, while the soft texture caresses the palate. 

James Christopher Tracy, the winemaker, is an incessant experimenter. Meditazione seems like a blending venture driven by chutzpah. In seeking synergy, the recipe invites risk: chardonnay (55 percent), sauvignon blanc (15.5), viognier (11), pinot grigio (6), Tocai Friulano (5.5), malvasia bianca (4) and muscat ottonel (3). The staff learned the percentages by weighing the different grapes separately. 

The grapes were fermented together on their skins rather than being blended after separate fermentations off the skins, the norm; compounds in the skins inject color and depth. 

This bold wine nearly amounts to a Rube Goldberg contraption, but it works — some but not all of the time. Give a graying wine buff a taste, and it may fetch a quizzical look. 

The flavors chase one another around almost frantically; the powerful razorlike acidity and heat (13 percent alcohol) converge almost masochistically. The bouquet's density resembled that of gardenias. The elixir seemed to combine citrus, spice, dried raisins — all mingled with a breath of oxidation. 

Channing Daughters mimics the fresh, fruity whites of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region in northeastern Italy. Meditazione ($40), which helps define Long Island's high-stakes wines, took its cue from Italians' vino da meditazione — mediation wine, intended to appeal to the intellect and digestive system. 

Only 29 cases were made and immediately allocated to Channing Daughters' wine club and a few choosy New York restaurants, among them Bouley, Danube and Hearth. The 2006 vintage will yield 60 cases if nature cooperates. 

The scarcity of Meditazione teaches a lesson about rising boutique wineries like Channing, which makes 7,000 cases of wine annually: To avoid frustration, consumers should learn wineries' wine-release dates and sign up for queues. California's limited-production wineries have long kept mailing lists, and people have waited years to become regulars.

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A Vivid White for the Table

The New York Times features Channing Daughters 2005 Scuttlehole Chardonnay as one of the great wines under $20. 

James Christopher Tracy, a former sommelier and a chef, makes charming whites at Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton, on the South Fork of Long Island. His lusciously fruity, appetite-whetting 2005 Scuttlehole chardonnay comes from what the winery calls the "hottest, driest, healthiest vintage our region has seen." He recommends serving with shellfish, poached salmon, grilled lobster, ceviche, lemon-roasted chicken and a platter of charcuterie.

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Chardonnay Two Ways

TWO newly released chardonnays show the range of chardonnay styles emerging in the young region. 

The wines are from the South Fork; each yields insights into contrasting approaches to the grape and to still versions of the wine. They are Wölffer Estate's 2002 reserve chardonnay ($20) from Sagaponack and Channing Daughters' 2005 Scuttlehole chardonnay (a $14 bargain) from nearby Bridgehampton. 

They contrast an Old World philosophy represented by Roman Roth, Wölffer's winemaker and general manager, and so-called New World inspiration championed by Christopher Tracy, Channing's winemaker. 

A direct comparison is not wholly fair, perhaps, because of the different vintages and winemaking methods used. Still, it shows just how wide the gulf is between the contrasting styles, one a settled, conservative, perhaps formulaic approach (Wölffer's) and the other an experimental, almost brash thrust (Channing's). 

The estates emphasize the qualities of their respective vintages. Wölffer declares 2002 "a wonderful growing season" that yielded "lush and ripe grapes"; Channing speaks of grapes "harvested in perfect condition" and calls 2005 "the hottest, driest, healthiest vintage our region has seen." Although Wölffer's approach is more "classic Burgundian," in Mr. Roth's words, and thus the beneficiary of centuries of experience, Channing's is more exciting — and more vulnerable to tut-tutting from what John Ciardi, my poetry professor at Rutgers, called "armored and concluded" opinion. 

Wölffer's chardonnay is a beverage. Channing's is a nosh. 

Wölffer's says, "How do you do?" Channing's says, "G'day, mate." 

Wölffer's will mesh with the expected kinds of fare: fish, seafood, poultry and, in Mr. Roth's view, all white-meat dishes. 

Channing's will go with — who knows? — cheese-topped pizza, salads (hold the vinegar), a baguette slathered in herb butter. Even charcuterie, the winery recommends. 

A major difference between them comes from a technical process beloved of wine geeks: malolactic (or secondary) fermentation, which, in mostly oak-reared wines like Wölffer's, softens acidity and introduces buttery and often cheeselike notes. 

Channing's chardonnay is a product of stainless-steel tanks. Unlike wood, which influences wine, metal is neutral, which preserves and helps enhance bouquet and fruity flavors. 

Quite accurately, Wölffer calls its reserve chardonnay elegant. 

No less accurately, Channing says, "This is the naked expression of cool-climate chardonnay." 

Wölffer's rich wine is somewhat figgy, redolent of dry pineapple, wood-inflected, mouth-filling and palate-cleansing; the texture is silken. It is correct. I admire it. 

Channing's fragrant wine is almost a tropical-fruit salad, crisp, bouncy, appetite-sharpening, luscious. It is rebellious. I love it. 

If both wines are refrigerated simultaneously, lightly chilled and then poured at the same time, their differences will be most vivid, and the wines most nuanced and tasty. To deaden them in ice for an hour would be to commit vinocide.

LONG ISLAND WINES: For East End, A Banner Year

Channing Daughters, under Christopher Tracy, its winemaker and a trained sommelier, generated some of the region's most exciting single-grape and blended whites.... 

A STREAM of first-rate East End wines made 2005 a pleasure for drinking. While I did not taste all of the hundreds sold, I found quite a few standouts; some of them remain available in wineries' tasting rooms, stores and restaurants. 

Raphael's 2001 First Label merlot ($30), which promises to evolve into an exceptionally sophisticated wine, was the best red I encountered. It was followed closely by Wölffer's 2002 Premier Cru merlot. At $125, it was the Island's costliest broadly available standard-size bottle. 

Bedell's 2001 Merlot Reserve in magnum ($200), with a label displaying a watercolor by Eric Fischl, of Sag Harbor, was indistinguishable from an outstanding St. Émilion. 

The No. 1 rookie was Richard Pisacano, Wölffer's vineyard manager, whose Roanoke Vineyards, a new North Fork estate, opened for business with a blockbuster 2000 merlot ($38) and a powerful 2003 cabernet sauvignon ($40). 

In the cabernet franc sphere, Schneider's 2003 Roanoke Point ($38) was significant; Pellegrini's 2001 ($17.99) echoed the weighty Bordeaux style; Osprey Dominion's 2001 (at $18, a bargain) was smoky and sultry; Peconic Bay Winery's 2002 ($22) was opulent and complex. 
Fans of reds may relish everything at the Diliberto Winery, a newcomer. Salvatore A. Diliberto keeps his North Fork estate beneath the radar, but it cannot stay that way long. His Italianate touch is a big draw. 

Macari's delicate 2004 rosé ($12), the most appealing version drunk last summer, was a charming blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. 

Channing Daughters, under Christopher Tracy, its winemaker and a trained sommelier, generated some of the region's most exciting single-grape and blended whites. This Bridgehampton estate has begun mounting a challenge to Wölffer's status as the South Fork's leader. 

To get Channing Daughters' whites, which disappear fast, consumers need to be alert to release dates or join the estate's wine club. The whites include the Channing Perrine Cuvée Tropical chardonnay, pinot grigio, Tocai Friulano, Vino Bianco and Sylvanus.

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