I have to tell you, I really love my job. Well, I like my day job too, but picking the wines for the New York Cork Club is a lot of fun. Wineries from all over New York are very excited about it and have been asking me to taste all sorts of wines--some good, some bad, some awful, some awesome.
For September's shipment, we've put together a duo that is perfect for this time of year.
As we head into fall, we'll still have the occasional hot, summer-like day. For those days, I've included Atwater Estate Vineyards Estate White ($10), which I think is the best $10 wine in the state.
A non-vintage, steel-fermented blend of 44% Vidal Blanc, 39% Cayuga White and 15% Villard it is just a tremendous value. It’s dry (with only 1% residual sugar) and displays intense fresh citrus, floral and mineral aromas. Medium-to-light bodied on the palate, it has terrific acidity that balances similarly intense fruity-floral flavors on the palate. The finish is just a little tart, clean and surprisingly long. Don't ponder this wine. Chill it moderately and drink it--either on its own or with fish, chicken or summer veggies.
Of course, we can have cool, blustery days this time of year too, but I've got you covered there as well with Bedell Cellars 2005 Reserve Merlot ($40). We were lucky to get this wine actually. It won "Best Merlot" at the recent 2007 New York Food & Wine Classic and started to fly off the shelves even more quickly. But, we got some and you'll be glad we did.
2005 was a hot, dry growing season on Long Island's North Fork and the resulting ripeness is on full display here. 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 is a very very young wine, and it is a little one-dimensional right now. You an either drink it now and enjoy those gobs of fruit, or put it in your cellar for a few years (up to 10 I'd say). The tannins should mellow revealing layers of complexity and the secondary aromas and flavors that make Long Island merlot so special.
In three to five years, when other wineries are just releasing their 05s, this wine could already be a classic.