Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Raphael 2004 Malbec  (North Fork of Long Island)


2004 Malbec
(North Fork of Long Island)

Don't cry for me Argentina… Long Island?

Yes, there is Malbec growing on Long Island -- and probably more than you realize.

Once a major component in the wines of Bordeaux, this large, fairly easy-to-ripen black grape is now best known in Argentina, where it is most often bottled alone. It’s also a big player (along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot) in Meritage and other blended red wines in the US, Australia and South Africa.

So it only makes sense that many of Long Island's Meritage-style reds feature small amounts of Malbec -- typically from 1 - 7%. However, it's rare to see a varietal bottling that is all -- or mostly -- Malbec. But, in a game of vino role reversal, this bottling from Raphael is 95% Malbec with just a little (5%) Merlot blended in.

Winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich describes the 2004 vintage as a "return to normal growing conditions" on the North Fork. The summer was rather dry, but somewhat cool, which makes it somewhat "similar to the wines made in 2000." This is the second time that Raphael has bottled a Malbec and it's only available through the Raphael Reserve Club, their wine club. Only 75 cases were made.

A deep violet-crimson in the glass, this wine has an intense nose of black currants and other black fruit, black tea and cedar. With time in the glass, these secondary aromas strengthen and evolve. Rich, concentrated black fruit flavor greets the palate and is accented by a definite black tea note and faint hints of cigar box. Medium, slightly chewy, tannins provide nice structure and the finish is medium long.

Reviewed October 27, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

The Wine

Winery: Raphael
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Malbec
Appellation: North Fork of Long Island
Grapes: Malbec (95%), Merlot (5%)
Price: 750ml $25.00

Review Date: 10/27/2006

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.