Laurel Lake Vineyards Review
Address: 3165 Main Rd. Laurel,New York 11948.
Phone Number: 631-298-1420
Tasting Hours: Jan-Mar 11:00-5:00, Apr-Dec 11:00-6:00
Region: Long Island AVA, North Fork of Long Island AVA, New York
Reviewer: Joanne Dunne
Review Date: 5/1/2012
Reviewer: Joanne Dunne
The Place:  Laurel Lake Vineyards is one of those jewels that, when you find it, you almost dont want to tell everyone about, because its so good that you want to keep it to yourself. Laurel Lake Vineyards is what appears to be a small, unknown fish in a sea of bigger ones along the North Fork Wine Trail. It was actually the first winery we saw on our way to tasting rooms, and we kept going. On a late Saturday afternoon, I decided on my travels back to take a peek. What I found was probably one of the best experiences to be had when visiting this area.
Laurel Lake is nestled between its stone driveway and its vineyards, but dont let the outward small appearance fool you; Laurel is a large facility, with a homey atmosphere. Started in the late 1990s by a partnership of Chilean and American winemakers, a unique blend of wine, accompanied by a fresh attitude towards wine tasting on Long Island, is what today makes Laurel Lake so special.
The Experience:  Laurel Lake offers and extremely comfortable tasting experience. One enters into a wide, open room, but it isnt too grand that it overwhelms you. Instead, theres plenty of room to move around. The antique bar was on the smaller side, but perfect for the space. Seating for approximately 40 people is available at one of many tables. There are also two couches for relaxing. The outdoor patio is also roomy lots of people can sit on the picnic tables and benches lining the perimeter. On the day we visited, there was a guitarist/singer providing light entertainment on the patio. All of this just said, without using the words, Come, sit, enjoy our wines stay awhile.
Being beckoned to stay and spend time is not the norm at many tasting rooms. You are there to stand, taste, enjoy briefly, and move along. Even when we first arrived and decided to check out their small gift shop, one of their pourers (we later learned his name was Alex), greeted us warmly while he was running back and forth busily. At many tasting rooms, you arent greeted until you step up to the bar. The tasting was beyond enjoyable, and the atmosphere was so inviting, we took a long rest on the comfy couches and enjoyed a glass of wine. We noticed a table of 8 people nearby with boxes of store bought crackers and cheeses. We asked Alex about this, and he explained that Laurel Lake doesnt mind at all if people bring their own picnics, pets (outside on the patio for Fido, though) and enjoy. Laurel Lake got it right when it comes to hospitality and building a loyal following.
The Wines:  Visitors can taste three samples for a fee of $7 and then purchase a full glass of their favorite for $8. With 17 different types of wines in white and red, it will be hard to choose a favorite, as these were, in general, simply very good wines full of taste. The Riesling was sweet, and their Chardonnays have won several awards. Prices range from $13 for a Wind Song Red, to $40.00 for their 2010 Golden Harvest.