Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Bedell Cellars 2003 Merlot  (North Fork of Long Island)

Bedell Cellars

2003 Merlot
(North Fork of Long Island)

Red wines from the 2003 vintage -- even those made with the region's signature variety, Merlot -- have proved inconsistent. Some wines, from some vineyards are delicious -- ripe, rich and elegant. Others tend to be light on flavor and even a little 'green' in their under-ripeness. Some wineries didn't even bother making first label or reserve wines.

The culprits? Poorly timed rain and October frosts -- two of them actually. Rain, obviously, can dilute flavors and frost kills the canopy. Without the engine to drive the sugar-making machine, those beautiful little bunches just aren't going to ripen any further.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the frosts weren't all decimating. Some vineyards or at least sections of some vineyards dodged the bullet, so the vintage definitely does not need to be avoided. The other good news is that wineries that didn't make reserve wines put grapes from their best, oldest lots into the de-classified bottlings.

First and foremost, Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue has long been known for its Merlot. In fact, founding winemaker Kip Bedell is known in these parts as Mr. Merlot, and this 2003 bottling is reminiscent of his style.

This wine is 94% Merlot with 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc and it was aged for 14 months in French-coopered American oak barrels. The nose features red cherry, vanilla and smoky aromas. The palate is medium bodied with cherry, vanilla and cola with a subtle earthiness and medium tannins. The finish isn't particularly lengthy or nuanced, but this is a fine wine from an inconsistent vintage.

Reviewed January 13, 2007 by Lenn Thompson.

The Wine

Winery: Bedell Cellars
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Merlot
Appellation: North Fork of Long Island
Grapes: Merlot (94%), Cabernet Sauvignon (4%), Cabernet Franc (2%)
Price: 750ml $18.00

Review Date: 1/13/2007

The Reviewer

Lenn Thompson

Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,
Long Island Press, Long Island Wine Gazette, Edible East End
and Two words describe his taste in wine — balance and nuance. Lenn prefers food-friendly, elegant wines to jammy, over-extracted fruit bombs and heavy-handed oak. When reviewing, Lenn tastes each wine three times — alone right after opening, with food, and again the next day — believing that 90-second reviews are unrealistic and not how the average person enjoys wine.