Simply Merlot Paradise
June 30, 2009
Long Island probably doesn't come to mind as a vital wine region but our Best-of-Appellation tasting proved to be a wake up call to Long Island Merlot. Really. Not just okay Merlot. Truly world class wines. Who would have thought?
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Bordeaux is the word that springs to mind...and palate...for many who’ve experienced the complex elegance of Long Island reds, particularly those from the North Fork where most of the island’s 3,000 acres of vineyards and 30 wineries are located. The Bordeaux comparison really isn’t so far fetched. Some attribute it to the fact that the most planted grapes on the North Fork are the Bordeaux varieties Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, but these same grapes are found in vineyards from here to California, rarely yielding the same result. What makes North Fork reds so Bordeaux-esque is the climate. Three great bodies of Gulf Stream-influenced water surround the narrow peninsula. Long Island Sound is to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and in the middle, splitting the two forks, is Peconic Bay. All three create a very moderate climate and an extended growing season that is over a month longer than other New York wine regions. However, maritime climates are susceptible to unpredictable autumn weather, and some vintages can end in a wet harvest and disappointing wines. Even this downside of the North Fork AVA rings of Bordeaux, where vintage variation has always been a fact of life and an important part of marketing.
Tannat, a varietal from Southwest France and of great tannic composition, has increasingly been embraced by US winemakers. But in the America's it has been Uruguay that has placed Tannat at the top of the order. Appellation America assembled our tasting panel to explore what is happening with Tannat across the US and included several Tannat releases from Uruguay.
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Best of Appellation
See the best wines of
North Fork of Long Island
BLUE BOOK PROFILES
Blue Book Taste Profiles for the North Fork of Long Island AVA
Alive & Well here
Madame Merlot, you’re a big gal, soft and smoky; how we love your full, curvaceous figure. But you are