One of the greatest things about Long Island wines is their food-friendliness. Many are fruit-forward, but they almost never plunge into the overtly fruity, high-alcohol pool of many other New World wines. Alcohol levels usually hover around the 12-13% level as well, meaning you can have two or three glasses of wine with dinner and not need a nap.
Cool nights and ocean breezes help growing grapes retain their natural acidity as well--another great benefit for those who like wine with food. A move away from heavy new oak--or at least more judicious use of said oak--also results in wines ideally suited to table time.
A clean, refreshing new white, Raphael's 2006 Grand Cru Chardonnay ($16) is made entirely in stainless steel tanks--the way winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich thinks local chardonnay shines most brightly.
The nose is somewhat austere, but offers lightly fruity pear and melon aromas with a wonderful smell of the sea in the background.
That almost-salty minerality carries through and drives the palate with the pear and melon character taking a step back. Medium bodied with substantial--but balanced--natural acidity, this is an ideal summer house white that pairs well with a variety of seafood and lighter fare.
The finish even lingers longer than expected.