Lieb Family Pinot Blanc (2011)

I’m putting the final touches on plans for a fall-time family trip to the North Fork of Long Island. Surprisingly, it’s taken me this long to dive into the rich wine scene there, despite the relative proximity to Philly, my Finger Lakes leanings and the curious noises the region’s winemakers continue to make.

It seems the PLCB has been on a similarly latent curve, but the folks of Lieb Cellars are the first Long Islanders to crack Harrisburg’s code.

With my head immersed in all things east of Aquebogue, a North Fork offering caught my attention this week.

The 2011 Lieb Family Pinot Blanc, a reserve wine made from estate-grown grapes, has been on the LCB roster for some time, and the agency has boosted supplies to elevate the bottling to Chairman’s Selection status. Accordingly, it’s offered in fat quantities at stores across the area.

2011 Lieb Family Pinot Blanc

The state system also features a 2011 Rosé from Lieb, the Cellars Bridge Lane Cabernet Franc. These are promising signs for Philadelphians who, rightly, scour the landscape in search of additional East Coast options for their wine cabinets.

The Pinot Blanc is a semi-dry delight. Pale yellow, with a bracing and cutting nose that promises acidity, the wine opens up more fully at warmer-than-refrigerator temps. In the mouth, it’s subtly green, mineral and low-key fruity (pear, citrus) with an elongated finish that aggressively trips the salivary wire. In a word, it’s alive.

On the food side, I wouldn’t hesitate to put it in front of white fish, oysters and other shellfish, ceviche and some light cheeses. It’s also an easy companion to help sip away the remaining warm nights. At 12.5% alcohol, no one gets thumped.

True to its Alsatian treatment, the Lieb is presented in a sleek and tall vessel with screw top – another plus. It sells in PA for $13.99, fairly competitive with prices spotted online and a lot better than you’d fare in Mattituck or Cutchogue tasting rooms.

October 27 update: There is at least one other Long Island producer – Wolffer – with wines available through the PLCB. Most are offered through special order (SLO), but a white blend, 2010 Wolffer Classic White, was recently spotted in-store.

 

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