Long Island's 2005 vintage was one for the record books--on a couple fronts. There was the rain. Some vineyard locations received
17 inches of rain an eight-day period--an eight-day period that
happened to coincide with with the grape harvest.
Most of the white grapes has come in already, but most reds had not.
And there were the near-drought conditions before the rain (less than two inches over three months). Those conditions led to smaller-than-usual fruit and some of the most intense fruit ripness in Long Island's short wine-producing history.
Those 17 inches of rain wreaked havoc and several vineyards sustained a lot of damage. But, those lucky enough to survive, or patient enough to wait for everything to dry out after the rain stopped, will soon be releasing some of the region's best reds ever.
In fact, Bedell Cellars has already released its 2005 Reserve Merlot ($40) And, despite its youth, the intensity of the vintage demands attention.
Loads of blackberry preserve, fresh fig and cafe mocha aromas reach right up out of the glass and pull you in. Big, lush blackberry flavors fill the mouth, with rich chocolate and a little vanilla in the background. The extracted, broad flavors carry through from beginning to end. The structure is a little firm and this wine is very full-bodied for the region and the finish is lengthy, if just slightly astringent.
This wine is a little one-dimensional right now. In fact, it really isn't showing much of what makes Long Island wines unique and delicious. But with time, I expect the tannins to mellow revealing those layers of complexity and secondary aromas and flavors. In three to five years, when other wineries are just releasing their 05s, this wine could be a classic.
Producer: Bedell Cellars
AVA: North Fork of Long Island