Bedell Cellars gets a lot of press coverage, most recently for the 90-point score they received from the Wine Specator for their 2005 Musee. They have also garnered a bit of attention for how their recent pricing structure, which is seen by some as too high, too soon.
But, if they can sell their wines at the prices they are asking, how can you blame them? Romantic notions of vineyards with butterflies and ponies aside, they are a business, and businesses exist to make money.
Sure, the Musee is $75 now after the 90-point score (was $65 upon release) but Bedell does make wines in the under-$20 category too, including this 2007 First Crush Red, which is $18 at the winery, but I've seen it for as little as $12.
This is the debut vintage of First Crush Red (and its sister First Crush White), a blend of 56% Merlot and 44% Cabernet Franc that are both aged almost entirely in stainless steel. I can't find any details on just how little oak is involved though.
When it comes to white wines appreciate such a judicious use of oak, but here, I think I miss what oak brings to the party. The nose is bright, youthful and extremely aromatic (no doubt from all of that cab franc) with ripe, just crushed cherry and plum aromas and a sprinkling of violet petals.
On the palate, its fresh and a bit Beaujolais-like. The flavors closely match the nose, with medium body that is soft, fruity and very approachable. The tannins are low and while there is some acidity here, I think it lacks structure a little bit overall. Still, if you can pick it up for $12 though, it's worth it just for the aromatics.
Grape(s): 56% merlot, 44% cabernet franc
Producer: Bedell Cellars
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Rating: (2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Recommended)