Long Island gets some love from Food & Wine magazine in their November issue. In an airy feature in the back of the book, Ray Isle offers “American Red Wine Made Simple.” Under a simple chart titled “top regions, top reds” Long Island is listed last for its merlot. In the “Basic Wine Picks” column is the 2001 Lenz Estate Selection Merlot. The “Benchmark Wine Picks” column has the 2006 Bedell Cellars Reserve Merlot. Both are current releases.
I tried to get some 2002 out of Lenz for a 2002 merlot tasting flight I’m serving at the restaurant right now (it was a great under-the-radar year) but they’re not labeled yet.
On the list is the 2002 Medolla Merlot. I got the last six bottles at The Tasting Room. The 2002 Raphael First Label Merlot, which is to be released soon, and the Osprey’s Dominion 2002 Reserve Merlot. There’s about 16 cases left and it’s not cheap, but it is delicious. Minty and chocolately in the vein of Pomerol. The 2005 is a winner, too.
This week, between the rains, Bedell Cellars is machine picking their chardonnay. The picture shows the last gasp of a pressing of the chard from the winery’s horizontal pneumatic press. The juice is sticky and sweet. Up until now, Bedell has only handpicked grapes mostly so triage can be exercised in the vineyard. The damp growing season has resulted in a lot of botrytis, and stink rot, says Donna Rudolph, the assisstant vineyard manager. I’m not sure what stink rot is. The Oxford Companion to Wine lists 14 different kinds of rot, including sour rot.
a breakdown of mature grapes caused by a mixture of fungi, bacteria, and yeast which invades damaged berries. The fruit takes on the smell of vinegar, and juice from rotting berries can spread the infection, as can fruit fly. Common entry points for the mixture of microbes are bird pecks as well as splits in berry skin caused by rain. Some organisms involved are the fungi Aspergillus, Botryosphaeria, Cladosporium, Monilia, Penicillium, and Sclerotinia and the yeast Saccharomyces. The rot is encouraged by rain and high humidity, and control relies on avoiding fruit damage as well as encouraging fruit aeration.
Sounds like a challenge. Continue reading
Since 2005 Bedell Cellars has been conducting an experiment with their cabernet vines. Soon after veraison, when the grapes turn from green to black, vineyard workers have been covering the ground between the rows to prevent any excess moisture from getting to the roots of the plants. Excess moisture like the rains that accompany hurricanes are common in our area right before harvest.
The idea to cover the ground came from Bedell’s consultant, the sauve Pascal Marty. (Check out his impressive bio here.)
Donna Rudolph, assistant vineyard manager at Bedell and Cellarette’s guide through the 2008 growing season, said the last time Pascal visited he said he thought the vines were about two weeks behind where they were last year. Continue reading
The last week of July will be remembered as the week of the big thunder/lightening storm. On Sunday it rained and thunder cracked just outside the house for a good hour and a half. My mother, who lives in Quogue on the south shore, said she got some hail.
Not here though (that would be bad.) The sun is back and vineyards workers at Bedell Cellars are busy pulling leaves and dropping fruit on the reds.
Donna Rudolph, assistant vineyards manager, says the winery has 10 workers out and figures they can clear the fruit zone of about two acres per day. Continue reading
We’re about 10 weeks into the growing season, and Donna Rudolph, assistant vineyard manager for Bedell Cellars, says growth is about two weeks behind last year due to the cold spring. Then came a heat wave and then the hit-and-run thunderstorms.
Today is a beautiful day, humidity is down and Donna and the crew are out hedging the vines and using a mechanical leaf puller. Continue reading
The summer issue of the Wine Press was released today, and it contains an article on gewurztraminer written by none other than Cellarette. Check it out for details on the differing styles of the wine made on the East End by Lenz, Martha Clara, Bedell and Palmer.