By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
In the summer, wines from Macari Vineyards often fill my glass. Sometimes it's their surprisingly expressive stainless steel chardonnay. Other times, it's their beautifully crisp, varietally spot-on sauvignon blanc. And this past year, it was their rose, which varies greatly in composition and flavor from year to year.
With vineyards that run from Sound Avenue in Mattituck all the way to Long Island Sound, it's not surprising that each of these summer-style wines capture a saltwater, saline minerality that is both refreshing and intriguing on the palate.
With the quality of the whites, sometimes it's easy to forget just how good some of Macari's red wines are, but a recent tasting served as an excellent reminder.
Co-owner Joe Macari manages the winery's vineyards following many organic, sustainable and biodynamic principals. He also has cattle on the property and keeps bees (the honey is available in the tasting room). I appreciate Joe because he employs these techniques and undertakes these projects because he believes in them, not because "natural" wine is trendy or popular. Spend any time with Joe and his passion for his land and the diversity he encourages is palpable.
We all wish we were as passionate about something in life. Trust me.
My favorite of the new table red releases (reviews coming on the others soon) is the first release of Macari Vineyards 2007 Dos Aguas ($27), named for the Long Island Sound and Great Peconic Bay, the "two waters" that surround North Fork wine country.
It's a blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot, 15% cabernet franc and 4% malbec, and while still a baby in its development, is more approachable that you might think.
The nose opens with intense pipe tobacco and Thai basil and oregano, with black cherry and green olive beneath. Black cherry leads the way on the balanced palate with accents of tobacco, black licorice, dried herbs and more green olive.
The tannins are firm, but will integrate and soften with more bottle time. The finish lingers for 30-plus seconds and features tobacco and spice.
There are values at every price point and I think this qualifies as a terrific value at under $30.
Producer: Macari Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long island
Rating: (3.5 out of 5 | Very good-to-Delicious)