Sometimes I get completely and utterly sick of tasting merlot. It's the most-planted grape on Long Island and every winery makes at least one varietal bottling--and often more than that. Hell, Wolffer Estate makes four 'levels' of merlot.
And, despite growing conditions that are excellently suited to the grape, there is a
lot of bad merlot being produced. It's sad really, because
when grown in the right way and treated the right way in the winery,
merlot leads to this regions most consistently delicious wines...even if
the best ones will cost you at least $30 and up to $125.
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards 2002 Merlot stood out from a dozen local bottles during a recent tasting--both for it's quality and its relative value.
It offers classic black plum aromas that mingle with blackberry preserves, sweet cedar, smoke and vanilla. At first the nose seems a little on the fruity side, but the palate shows impeccable balance with rich chocolate, dark fruit flavors accented by tobacco and a clean minty note towards the finish. The medium tannins provide nice, but not overly aggressive, grip and structure.
Give it another year or two in bottled and this $20 wine is really going to round out, I think and be even better.