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June 07, 2006

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In March my folks were up from Florida and we had dinner at the Jamesport Country Kitchen. During a lengthy and relaxed meal, we ordered three bottles of older, local wines. The last was the 1995 Bedell Merlot that Asimov had from double magnum. Well, ours was a "normal" bottle, so I guess it had aged "properly" to be consumed at this point. (Interesting that his experience says it needs more time - due to the bottle format, of course.)

Let me tell you that this wine was the pinnacle moment of our weekend as my folks decided that Long Island wines are, in fact, worthy of attention. I didn't take notes that night, but I did head over to Bedell the following Friday to see if they had any of this vintage laying around. Sure enough, they did and I bought the two bottles they would allow me to buy (this was technically from their Library, so they had to be frugal.)

Now, granted, this was their basic Merlot - but it was from 1995, so I expected to "pay" for this privilege. The price? At the restaurant, $65. From the Vineyard, $50. As much as I enjoyed the Wolffer Premier Cru, at $125/bottle, the Bedell is a much better value. (But do try the Premier Cru if you get the chance, believe me!)

Bottom line? Many Long Island Merlots and Bordeaux-style blends are comparable to the Bordeaux themselves. But only a few have the depth, complexity and elegance of their cousins across the pond. The 1995 Bedell Merlot is one of them.

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