Wolffer Estate, one of two quality-focused producers in the Hamptons, focuses mainly on two varieties: Merlot and Chardonnay. They make no fewer than four different bottlings of each -- including Long Island's most expensive wine the Premier Cru Merlot, which retails for $125 and a succulent, lively late harvest chardonnay.
Some of those wines are good for everyday drinking. Some are stunningly delicious and complex.
But still, who can live on only merlot and chardonnay?
I know that I can't and, as you probably know, I'm a big fan of Long Island cabernet franc. Wolffer's winemaker, Roman Roth, makes a cab franc too -- just over 600 cases of it -- and it's among my favorite wines in the portfolio.
Wolffer Estates’ 2004 Cabernet Franc ($40) is a blend of 78% cabernet franc, 15% cabernet sauvignon and 7% merlot and it is definitely the star of their latest round of red releases. Though clearly not priced for everyday consumption, the ripe, blackberry-laced, earthy nose is enchanting with hints of cedar and violets in the background.
The palate is just as ripe with sweet blueberries, blackberries and leather with subtle notes of toffee, caramel and wet earth. Ripe tannins provide well integrated structure and a long, dry finish makes this a real stunner. Again, this isn't a wine I can afford to drink every day, but it's delicious none the less.
Grape(s):78% cabernet franc, 15% cabernet sauvignon and 7% merlot
Producer: Wolffer Estate
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island
Rating: (4 out of 5 | Delicious, Distinctive)