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April 01, 2008


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Tertiary: Nice word. Good to see you recycle words between your day job (web designer) and your fun job (wine blogger)!

Yup -- I thought the tannins were on the soft side as well. I feel so validated that we see more or less eye to eye on this one!

Lenn - I'm a bit perplexed as to why you continue to define the ripe, dark fruit flavors found in so many 2005 Long Island wines as "California in character" - as if this is some kind of flaw.

Dark fruit and jammy flavors alone do not constitute a "California" style. I think you would also need to have exceptionally high alcohol levels (reduced by the addition of water in some cases) out of balance tannins and burned out aromatics. We have long argued that California cannot grow merlot with elegance and style like we can on Long Island - even in a very ripe year like 2005.

I would bet that most winemakers on Long island did not change their techniques very much for this vintage. What you're seeing and tasting instead in these wines is the epitome of ripe, mature fruit grown on Long Island in a great year. After participating in many vintages over the years where we had to fight off green and under-ripe character in our reds, I for one find the style of the 2005's - including this wonderful example from Bedell - as a real achievement and a wonderful expression of our terroir in full bloom. I'm sure we'll have a few more "off" vintages to contend with in the future; when you have a great year like 2005 and 2007, you celebrate the ripeness in the cellar and nurture it into the bottle. Much like the great Bordeaux vintages of 2003 and 2005, this is not west coast winemaking - it's an example of what Bordeaux varieties achieve in a great year.

As our winemaking and vineyard management continues to improve, so will our levels of ripeness and the quality of our wines. Let's not confuse some of the wines of the past with a dedicated style of production. With improved knowledge and techniques and two vintages in the past 3 years showing these kinds of flavors, I would not be surprised if what you are seeing is the slow evolution of style in Long Island red wine production. I for one am looking forward to more vintages like '05 and '07!

Congrats to Bedell on this beautiful wine.

Rich: Thanks for chiming in and bringing a little historical perspective.

My allusion to CA isn't really about the ripe fruit. It's about the somewhat one-dimensional flavor profile of some of these 2005 reds. And with Bedell in particular, there seems to be a lot of oak-vanilla. I'm not saying that I want the vegetal flavors, but some sweet basil or thyme, along with some of the other earthy, spicy flavors would be welcome.

Of course, these wines are very young, so time will tell if these emerge with time.

You make a good point that the alcohol levels, that bears mentioning certainly.

As I said previously about this wine, I had the opportunity to taste is at the Boston Wine Expo. I did enjoy it and it was one of the better Long Island wines I tried at the Expo. But it did seem overpriced for what you got. For $65, a wine better be stellar.

BTW...I never said it was a flaw, did I? :)

Is Bedell offering this for tastes at the winery? Many times these higher end wines are not poured.

Look forward to trying it, but like RichardA said, at $65 it better be stellar.

I know what Lenn means in "CA Style", even if it's something that's hard to put in words, when he used "CA Style", I think I got what he meant. I've actually had the Bedell 05 Merlot (the "regular" one), and the Raphael 05 Merlot, both within the last couple of days. The Raphael, to me, was a bit "dirtier", more classic Bordeaux skewing (which is more my personal preference). The Bedell seemed more "fruit forward" in style - without the in your face alcohol of a "fruit bomb" (more CA than AU).

could i have used more quotes? :)

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