Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Sherwood House Vineyards 2003 Merlot, Estate (North Fork of Long Island)

Sherwood House Vineyards

2003 Merlot, Estate
(North Fork of Long Island)

Dr. Charles and Barbara Smithen purchased their 1860 farmhouse in 1996 and planted their vines soon after. In 1999, after selling their grapes to other wineries for a few years, they decided to start making their own wine. Since then, they've focused mostly on Merlot and Chardonnay, while also bottling some Cabernet Franc. Their 2001 Chardonnay was and is one of the best examples of Long Island Chardonnay made in a rich Burgundian style, and their Merlots always display the North Fork's terroir under the watchful eye of winemaker Gilles Martin, who also makes wine at Martha Clara Vineyards.

2003 is considered an off year for many Long Island producers. After a good, normal spring and summer, poorly time rain and two harvest-time frosts in October did the vintage in. The frosts damaged many of the vineyards' canopies, stopping photosynthesis and keeping the grapes from ripening to their full potential. Winemakers and vineyard managers love to talk about "hang time", but without the sugar factory working, it won't help much.

That's not to say that there aren’t some good -- and even great -- wines available from the 2003 vintage. Some vineyards were lucky and dodged the frost and Sherwood House Vineyards seems to have gotten through okay.

Their 2003 Merlot, is a medium garnet, with a straightforward nose that features black cherries, blackberries and light smoky oak. This is a very Old World-style wine with a rustic edge that is charming even if the nuance and grace of a typical Sherwood House Merlot is lacking. It's not complex, but French oak influence, cherry-blackberry flavors and a medium-long finish are tasty nonetheless.

Reviewed November 21, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

Other reviewed wines from Sherwood House Vineyards


The Wine

Winery: Sherwood House Vineyards
Vineyard: Estate
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Merlot
Appellation: North Fork of Long Island
Grape: Merlot
Price: 750ml $24.00

Review Date: 11/21/2006

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.