Wines like those in our October shipment are why I enjoy picking the wines for the New York Cork Club. The only independent wine club for New York wines.
A lot of people complain about the prices of New York wines (particularly those from Long Island) but both of these wines represent terrific values. If you like balanced, nuanced wines that is.
First up is a wine from a tiny producer that doesn't event have a tasting room yet (though they are working on it): Scarola Vineyards 2005 Masseria Merlot ($16), a great value in Long Island merlot from a great vintage. Owner Frank Scarola makes his wines at Wolffer Estate under the watchful eye of Roman Roth. This wine shows off the ripeness of the vintage with ripe cherry and blackberry flavors accented by hints of vanilla, oak and spice. At this price, I don't think there are many wines that should age like this one can too. I'm not talking 15 years, but I think 5-7 years is possible.
Next is a merlot-heavy blend from Raphael on the North Fork of Long Island, Raphael's 2005 La Fontana ($25). A blend of 80% merlot, 15% cabernet franc, 3% malbec and 2% petit verdot, this medium-dark garnet is very old world on the nose. Dark fruit aromas of blackberry, black cherry and black plum intermingle with those of earthy tobacco, thyme, mint and subtle spice. Right out of the bottle, the secondary non-fruit flavors like tobacco, black pepper and herbs are more prominent. But with just a few moments in the glass, black and red fruit flavors emerge, unfurling to fill the mouth from start to finish. The tannins are ripe but still grippy, pointing to a fine future ahead. Overall, it's on the fuller side of medium bodied and the finish lingers with a delicious minty notes.
If you love New York wines or just want to learn more about the state's best, I encourage you to check out the New York Cork Club.