Onabay Vineyards 2006 "Night Heron" Merlot ($25) is a blend of 86% merlot, 9% cabernet franc and 5% syrah. That syrah worried me a bit because Long Island syrah, particularly in a cooler year like 2006, doesn't often impress..
But I had no reason for concern. I like this wine quite a bit.
A nicely extracted medium-dark garnet, the nose offers nice dark fruit aromas of black cherry, black berry and even a little blueberry, accented by basil, thyme and a little smokiness.
That same dark fruit character, black cherry and black raspberry this time, leads on an elegant, medium-bodied palate. Secondary flavors of herbs, mocha and subtle graphite -- especially on the long finish -- add layers of complexity. The tannins are of medium-intensity, but well integrated. They bring grip but don't overwhelm or punish the palate.
This is a well-priced, delicious merlot that represents Long Island's unique terroir extremely well.