Members of the New York Cork Club will recognize this wine -- it was part of our October shipment -- but for some reason I never got around to publishing a review. That's a shame because this is a very interesting wine that combines value with all the characteristics that make Long Island merlot so unique and delicious.
As I taste more and more 2005 reds, I'm finding them inconsistent. Some really show off the ripeness attained during the hot, dry growing season (before the deluge that is). Some don't. Many were bludgeoned with a lot of oak. Some weren't.
This one, Scarola Vineyards 2005 Masseria Merlot, shows nice ripeness on the nose without being over the top with the oak. Classic Long Island aromas of dried leaves and herbs mingle with nice scents of black raspberry and cherry with just the right vanilla and oak sprinkled in.
Medium-to-full bodied, the wine shows flavors that closely mimic the nose with dark fruit, earthy dried leaves and light vanilla notes. With time in the glass, herb aromas -- thyme and a little mint -- emerge. By day two, they become even more expansive.
This isn't a wine for long-term cellaring -- the tannins are ripe, well-integrated, but not big. I don't think there's enough structure for much 3-5 years.
Perhaps the best thing about the wine? It represents a terrific value at $17.
Producer: Scarola Vineyards
AVA: Long Island
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | Very good-to-Delicious)