Merlot is Long Island's most-planted grape and clearly the red that, year-to-year, leads to the region's best wines. It could be argued that cabernet franc isn't far behind, but my affection for cabernet franc is well documented, so I won't go there today.
But, in warmer years (and when planted in the right places on the North Fork), the other major grape of Bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon, can be just as good. There. I said it.
In those good years and good places, cabernet sauvignon is the delicious little secret of Long Island wine.
Knowing that, I was still surprised when I tasted Peconic Bay Winery's three 2007 reds -- merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon -- that in this early stage of their development, my favorite by far was the cabernet sauvignon.
The nose is filled with blueberries and exotic Chinese five-spice, with dark chocolate and licorice accents. Those licorice-spice notes emerged even more on days two and three of tasting.
On the fuller side of medium bodied, the palate brings ripe, dense black and blue fruits to the glass with licorice, spice and a little vanilla. The tannins are ripe and fine-grained, with enough grip to hint at at least short-term aging potential.
I'd recommend decanting this for at least an hour before drinking. It really opened up for me over the course of three days. Or even better, keep it in your cellar for at least a year or two.
Producer: Peconic Bay Winery
AVA: North Fork of Long island
Rating: (3.5 out of 5 | Very good-to-Delicious)