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When the Chilean owners of Laurel Lake Vineyards, in Laurel, bought the winery for $2 million in 1999, it was producing 5,100 cases of wine. By leasing additional acreage and planting more vines in stages, they raised the output at the 13-acre winery to 9,000 cases last year.
Preparing for the future, this year they are buying new tanks and barrels, which will raise the production capacity to 21,000 cases, from 19,000.
The majority owners are Francisco Gillmore, proprietor of the boutique Gillmore Winery and Vineyards, in Chile, and Alejandro Parot, an influential winegrowing pioneer there. The minority partners are Juan E. Sepúlveda, the resident winemaker and general manager, and Joseph DePietto, an accountant from Carle Place who is the financial adviser.
“To my knowledge, Laurel Lake is the only New York winery with sizable foreign investment,” James Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, a trade association, said in a telephone interview.
Mr. Sepúlveda tries to make wine that can be appreciated by both “entry-level and experienced drinkers,” he said on the telephone. “I don’t extract too much from the grapes and don’t over-oak the wines.”
His approach has yielded light- to medium-bodied food-friendly wines; almost all show spicy accents.
Laurel Lake’s 2009 reserve chardonnay ($19.99) evokes crisp apples, and the 2010 sauvignon blanc ($19.99) is redolent of lime. I found the off-dry 2010 gewürztraminer ($21.99) piquant, and I indulgently drizzled the simple, sweet blended 2010 Golden Harvest ($34.99 for a half-bottle) over vanilla ice cream.
There’s a dollop of depth in the dark-pink 2010 Lake rosé ($17.99), made from cabernet sauvignon. While the soft 2007 cabernet sauvignon reserve ($25.99) needs time to more fully evolve, its sibling, the 2007 cabernet franc ($19.99), shows herbal and licorice nuances. If you’re grilling steaks and vegetables, decant the plush 2007 syrah ($19.99) two hours ahead.
Story by Howard G. Goldberg
Courtesy of The New York Times