A few weeks ago, we walked our way through Long Island wine country looking for the best $15-and-under white wines, really looking for the bargains. This week, we show our faith in the administration’s economic stimulus package and look at the region’s best wines priced between $18 and $30.
Bedell Cellars 2007 First Crush White ($18) - This steel-fermented and aged white wine is mostly chardonnay with 18 percent viognier blended in. It’s fresh, fruity and well balanced - making it well suited to summer sipping, the beach, or shellfish.
Bouke 2007 White Table ($18) - In the same vein, but a bit more complex is this wine from newcomer Bouke, made with 40 percent chardonnay, 32 percent pinot gris, 18 percent sauvignon blanc, and 10 percent Gewurztraminer.
The expressive nose is really over-delivered at this price point, showing predominant apple and citrus aromas accented by those of white flowers, pineapple and spice.
The fresh, satisfying palate is medium-light in body and offers green apple, peach and lemon zest flavors with more spice. There is just the right acidity here to keep it lively. Make sure that you don't over-chill this wine. You'll miss out on some of the depth and complexity.
Channing Daughters Winery 2007 Mosaico ($29) - Yet another blend, this delicious white is a field blend of 32 percent pinot grigio, 29 percent chardonnay, 14 percent sauvignon blanc, 12 percent muscat ottonel, seven percent Tocai Friulano, and six percent Gewurztraminer that comes from a co-planted block in their Sylvanus Vineyard in Bridgehampton.
It is, simply stated, a beautiful expression of that vineyard, showing aromas of crisp apple, spring flowers, brown spice and Clementine orange that mingle on an intricate, seamless nose. Medium-to-light bodied with clean acidity, this blends fruit flavors range from apple and pear to peach to honeydew melon. There is a floral-spice vein that runs through it as well. It finishes fresh and minerally.
Macari Vineyards 2007 Katherine’s Field Sauvignon Blanc ($22) - Along with blends, sauvignon blanc is where the future of Long Island white wines resides and this is one of my favorites each year. It brings intense aromas of grapefruit, lemon and lime zest with understated hints of just-cut grass and crushed Thai basil leaves.
The palate is mouthwatering crisp and similarly citrusy, with fresh grapefruit and sweet lime flavors accented by a seawater minerality and more of that grassy-herbal character - but not too much. The balance between flavor, texture and lively acidity is impressive and the finish lingers nicely.
Martha Clara Vineyards 2007 Five-O White ($18) - Yes, another blend, this time of 32 percent sauvignon blanc, 25 percent viognier, 15 percent chardonnay, 10 percent semillon, eight percent riesling, seven percent pinot grigio, and three percent Gewurztraminer.
It might sound like a 'kitchen sink' wine, but don't be fooled. Each grape brings something unique to the table and the result is delicious. The nose is aromatic and somewhat riesling-like with scents of lime and peach accented by floral undertones.
The similarities to riesling carry over somewhat to the palate as well with flavors of lime, grapefruit and peach. This medium-weight white has some residual sugar (three g/L) but terrific, almost electric, acidity balances it very well. The finish is clean, a little tart and medium-long.
Paumanok Vineyards 2007 Chenin Blanc ($28) - Paumanok is the only producer growing chenin locally, but what a wine. The nose is complex and expressive, showing a fruit salad mélange of grapefruit, mango, pear, melon and orange blossom.
A medium-bodied palate starts off fresh and clean with melon, grapefruit and mineral flavors, but as the wine crosses over into the mid-palate, the flavors change a bit, becoming richer with pineapple and honey overtones. That honeyed fruit character carries through to the finish, which is long and delicious.
Shinn Estate Vineyards 2007 First Fruit ($22) - Made from 96 percent sauvignon blanc and four percent semillon, this wine is Shinn’s nod to the white wines of Bordeaux. The nose is effusive with fresh pear, lemon, grapefruit and herbal-grassy notes mingling.
The palate brings similar flavors - with the addition of a squirt of lime and a sprinkling of salty minerality. Medium bodied and impeccably balanced with snappy acidity, this is a wine born beside the sea and one that goes with anything from the sea.