[To see the below wine as it resides in an awesome collage about Montauk, check out this post at Holier Than Now I was commissioned to help out with.]
Just a 2-acre plot behind the Bedell winery, on the craggy-looking North Fork of Long Island, is the unlikely source of a world-class Merlot.
I read about Kip Bedell’s Merlot Reserve two years ago in a book titled The Great Wines of America, the top forty vintners, vineyards, and vintages. 400 pages of ardently unique wines, covering 7 states and some of the most significant wine growing areas in the United States.
When I was presented with the task of pairing a wine with a location for Ann Somma’s Holier than Now blog, Montauk to be specific, I thought back to the dog-eared third chapter and a wine I would look for any excuse to order. Kip’s Merlot is not the most commercially accessible wine coming off the North Fork, but it’s heritage. Small-production wine that’s maintained one man’s pioneering spirit—it’s what I could picture carrying down to the beach for a sunset with Carey, or sipping on a porch in West Egg. Only Long Island could proudly stand up to French and California Merlot just in being its own, distinct self—taking qualities of each and striving to do it better. Drinking it, you get a sense of place.
Drink local, drink world class, and fall in love with Merlot at the same time.
Amazingly gamey berries—brambly. Currant, boysenberry, cranberry. Very complex nose jumping with lively acidity, aromas of cinnamon and holiday spiced tea. Toffee and harder-edged, bitter dark chocolate compliment the multifaceted, stylized cherry.
North Fork Merlot has its own distinct character, and it’s neither pudgy, mellow, or effortless—it’s not California. This wine has spine—it demonstrates food-friendly, angular textures on the attack, spooling in the mouth, delivering intense fruit energy and a long, velvety finish.