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May 06, 2009

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Dale - it was a pleasure meeting you on Friday - and a very thoughtful post. Just in response to your comments - I don't think we as growers and winemakers on Long Island came up with a master plan to produce merlot. Rather over the course of 30 plus years experience in the vineyards and cellars and through trial and error, we've more or less let the grape varieties decide for us by observing which work best. We all know merlot has become "uncool" for many folks (thanks California) but if the idea is to let the terroir drive us - then that's really what we've done.
Its really more about being true to the terroir and the ability to consistently ripen a crop of wine grapes in our climate - something that might be taken for granted but it definitely not easy to do every year.

That being said I sometimes wonder how much the merlot "stigma" plays into people's taste buds.

Also, a great deal of Cab Francs on L.I. are blended with merlot to help flesh them out. I don't think the discussion needs to be either or - rather I see both varieties as very different animals, with both playing a significant role. In most years Franc will take a back seat in my opinion but when its good - like in 2007 - its really sublime. Frankly I believe that our future will not be in varietal wines but blends of these with other red varieties (i.e. Petit Verdot, Malbec) will ultimately produce our finest red wines in the future.

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