Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Bedell Cellars 2002 Merlot

Bedell Cellars

2002 Merlot
(North Fork of Long Island)

Bedell Cellars, one of the Nork Fork's best known wineries, was founded in 1980 by Kip Bedell – who is known locally as Mr. Merlot. A few years ago, Michael Lynne, co-chairman and CEO of New Line Cinema, bought both Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek Vineyards and has made a commitment to producing top-flight wines.

In February of 2005, this commitment to making world-class wines led Lynne to hire Pascal Marty, formerly of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, as his consulting oenologist, and John Irving Levenberg, most recently at Paul Hobbs Winery in Napa Valley, joining Kip Bedell, to create a formidable winemaking team.

Marty, a globally respected winemaker who was integral in the creation of the ultra-premium Opus One brand, has received most of the press since the announcement, but Levenberg may have a more immediate impact on the wines. While Marty will only be visiting Long Island periodically (he lives in Chile), Levenberg will be involved daily. In addition to posts at Paul Hobbs and other Napa wineries, Levenberg has worked in Bordeaux and New Zealand, bringing an interesting mix of Old and New World experience with him. He also brings an understanding of how to make wine in a cool climate as a result of his time in Bordeaux.

Levenberg has since taken over as head winemaker, but this 2002 Merlot ($18) was made by founding winemaker Bedell.

Elegant and nuanced, this Merlot is nothing like the bold, one-dimensional Merlots you'll find at a similar price from warm-weather regions. Made with 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, it was aged for 14 months in American oak. The nose is mostly red and black cherry with hints of raspberry and cedar. The medium-bodied palate is a mix of cherry, strawberry and black raspberry, all accented by anise spice and cedar. Gently gripping tannins bring structure to this refined, cool-year Merlot. Serve it with salmon, turkey and pork.

Reviewed September 12, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

The Wine

Winery: Bedell Cellars
Vintage: 2002
Wine: Merlot
Appellation: North Fork of Long Island
Grape: Merlot
Price: 750ml $18.00

Review Date: 9/12/2006

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.