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Friday, October 14, 2011

Drink Local Week

In the spirit of Drink Local week, for my regular “Wine Wednesday” selection I went with a local wine from a winery with which I have no experience - but that’s about to change soon, as I really enjoyed the wine.
Living as close as I do to the Long Island wine region, particularly the North Fork, I feel kind of spoiled and lucky to have access to some awesome wines of great variety.  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay are among the most dependable grape types here on Long Island, but winemakers are working with so many different grapes and finding some very good results.  This past summer I reviewed a lot of Long Island wines before switching to some lesser known Old World and South American wines, and soon I’ll be reviewing more Long Island wines.
It’s no secret that there’s an economic recession going on.  A year ago I made a promise to myself that I would try to buy and drink more domestic wines, and my 2011 New Year’s resolution was to support smaller wineries.  Sure, one could make the argument that one person cannot make much of a difference in the economy.  However, it all begins with one person, and in fact there are many of us currently making an effort to support our local economies - shopping at small local stores, giving our business to local establishments, buying produce at local farms, and - yes - buying our wine from the local wineries.  It’s important to channel money back into our local economies, and it’s also a good way to connect with locals who should not be strangers, but rather friends and neighbors.  And it’s exciting to watch local businesses develop; it’s especially exciting to watch a wine region mature and find its own identity.  Here on Long Island, the wine region has been doing just that, and the result has been some excellent quality wines that are expressive of the region’s identity and character.

2005 Sherwood House Merlot

Some of my favorites are the wines produced by Bedell, Macari, Shinn, Raphael, and a few from Pindar.  But this time, for Drink Local week, I decided to try a wine from a winery whose wines I’ve never tasted before (but fully intend to change that after my most recent experience) - Sherwood House.  Lately I’ve only been hearing good things about their wines from local wine enthusiasts, and I chose the 2005 Merlot.  I paired it with my dinner of veal cutlets in a sage and Merlot sauce and portobello mushrooms and the pairing was excellent.  The wine is an almost dark cranberry red with a brickish rim indicating its age, and showing characteristics of cherry, both fresh and stewed berries, just a hint of green pepper, gentle spices and herbs, earth, and just a touch of wood and a hint of smoke.  The structure is lovely and the wine is elegant and mature, with bright acidity making it particularly food friendly, and soft tannins, with a long finish reflecting the fruit and herb notes.  I really enjoyed this wine and I look forward to more from Sherwood House.

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