Wolffer Estate Vineyard2001 Premier Cru Merlot
(Hamptons Long Island)
Wolffer's Premier Cru is 100% Merlot made with grapes from their oldest vines (planted in 1990) on their steepest slopes, ensuring good drainage. Ocean breezes also protect the vines from cold snaps, allowing them to ripen fully into November.
Through a time-consuming, hands-on process, the grapes were hand picked, hand sorted and any stems that slipped past the de-stemmer were also plucked out, leaving only the best fruit. The juice spent 28 days on the skins and the wine was moved to 100% French oak for almost 20 months.
Only 283 six-bottle cases were produced (750ml) along with 96 375ml bottles, 24 magnums and seven three-liter bottles.
Eyes: Deep crimson/ruby with tinges of purple. Almost inky.
Nose: Complex and layered with rasberry, blackberry and tobacco. Even a touch floral. It changed with every sniff (over the course of a few hours), with fruit coming forward as time went on.
Tongue: California is known for "big" Cabernet Sauvignon and this is a "big" Merlot. Concentrated with a rich, full mouthfeel the palate offers full, but smooth tannins (given the 100% new oak cooperage), more berries and a faint mineral/lead pencil note toward the end that gives it a Bordeaux twist. The finish is War and Peace long, lingerly nicely on the back of my tongue with a subtle sweet spice...think cinnamon.
Reviewed December 8, 2004 by Lenn Thompson.
Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,