This is only the second vintage of Merliance, but each year, the member wineries choose two barrels from their own cellars that they feel best represent their own individual style as well as Long Island’s unique terroir.
For those keeping score at home, that's ten barrels of 100% merlot from five wineries with five winemakers with five differing styles. Under those conditions, crafting a wine that not only retains true Long Island character isn't easy, but I think they did a find job with this merlot.
Where the 2004 Merliance was elegant, almost delicate in some ways, this wine is much more assertive. The nose shows off the ripeness of the vintage intense with black cherry and black raspberry aromas with hints of tobacco, fresh herbs and brown sugar.
The medium-full bodied palate is a bit taut at first, but with some time to breath, beautiful ripe black fruit flavors emerge accented by just-snipped mint, brown sugar and dark chocolate. Ripe, smooth tannins provide good structure and hint at some short-term cellar-worthiness. The finish is dry and medium long with light fruit and herb flavors.
It'd be a better value at $25, but a significant portion of the profits from this wine go to LIMA's research, so I think it's well worth the extra $10.
Producer: Long Island Merlot Alliance
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Rating: (3 out of 5 | Recommended)