I consider myself fairly sophisticated and cultured, but a trip to an art gallery — and just an art gallery — isn’t necessarily my cup of tea (or glass of wine.) I need a fine meal either before the gallery or after (or maybe both) to entice me.
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?
But, there’s a new Gallery on the North Fork that I’m willing to visit — and open — any time. In fact, I plan to several times over the course of the next few months.
Bedell Cellars has just released the newest of its art-inspired wines, the 2005 Bedell Gallery ($45). The press kit lauds this wine as “further evidence that Bedell is perfecting the art of wine.” A bold statement, but not as boastful as it might seem.
This complex, richly textured white is a blend of 52 percent chardonnay, 32 percent sauvignon blanc and 16 percent viognier — a unique blend for the North Fork or most anywhere else for that matter. Five separate lots of chardonnay were barrel fermented in French oak with primarily native yeast, then blended with viognier and sauvignon blanc. I tend to like Bedell’s chardonnays and used to love founding winemaker Kip Bedell’s varietal Viognier bottling, so this blend was intriguing even before I popped the cork.
Pale straw yellow in the glass, the aromas immediately rise up from the glass — before swirling even begins — with lemons, vanilla bean, toasty marshmallow and oak, minerals and subtle baking spice come together in a layered-yet-fresh nose. The blend is absolutely seamless on the palate, with the three varieties coming together without any rough edges. The result is an elegant, well-balanced wine that is nimble on the palate but extremely flavorful. Citrus, vanilla and mineral flavors fill the mouth and just the right acidity brings balance and potential longevity. Balance is truly on display here.
In a wine world where so many emerging regions look to classic regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy for wines to model their own after, this wine stands alone as distinctively Long Island. The winemaking team at Bedell Cellars has used thoughtful blending to create an outstanding wine that fully displays, and I think explores, the potential for white wines on the North Fork.
Perfecting the art of wine? Maybe. But this wine is exciting because it shows off our region’s terroir in a beautiful way — both the wine and the label, which was designed by globally renowned artist Ross Bleckner.
They only made 200 cases, so I doubt it will last long. Visit their tasting room or www.bedellcellars.com for more information and to order.