High residual sugar and pineapple-flavored wines aside, Martha Clara Vineyards, one of the largest on the North Fork, seems to be on the rise from a quality standpoint. They have winemaker Juan Martinez-Micieli, formerly of Shinn Estate Vineyards and Pellegrini Vineyards, to thank for that. He's working to steer this large ship in a better direction.
His Martha Clara Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer ($19) is one of, if not the best the estate has produced and the key to this wine's success is balance.
The nose offers classic lychee aromas with candied orange peel, lime zest and rose petal-floral notes that are there, but not overwhelming. This doesn't smell like your grandmother's perfume like many gewurztraminers can. The fruit-to-flower balance is done well here.
The palate is fruit, citrusy and lightly sweet, with musk melon joining the lychee and lime flavors. That sweetness is just balanced by acidity that could be dialed up a bit to really make the palate fresh and finish clean.
As it is, the finish is a little too close to cloying — probably popular in their always-busy tasting room, but I'd need spicy Thai food to perfect the balancing act.
Producer: Martha Clara Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Rating: (2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Very Good)