By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Nautique_whiteThe New York wine industry has an unfair reputation among some — a reputation that the wines are overpriced and just aren't good values. I've been hearing this about Long Island for some time now, but I've been hearing it more and more lately about Finger Lakes wines as well — particularly riesling (which is a bit mind boggling really).

Often, I hear it from people who, frankly, don’t know what they are talking about, or to soften that a bit, have very limited experience or exposure to New York wines.

Are there overpriced wines being made and sold in New York? Of course. I get frustrated when I see very average Long Island merlots being sold for $40 because the winery down the street is doing it.

But aren't their overpriced wines in every wine region? Literally. Every. Wine. Region?

I say yes. Value comes at every price point and while it's true that many of Long Island's best values are in the $20-$40 range, there are some (notice that I said some) wines at or under $15 worth noting, especially some of the 2009 whites that have just come out.

Over the next couple of days, we'll be running reviews of three of the best white values from Long Island in the under-$20 category, starting with Peconic Bay Winery's NV Nautique Esprit de Blanc ($16)

Though not vintage labeled, this edition is all 2009 fruit, both from Long Island and the Finger Lakes (a trend that we'll discuss in an upcoming post). 

Made with 65% chardonnay, 27% riesling and 8% pinot grigio, the nose is extremely citrusy showing lime curd, candied orange peel and grapefruit zest — and just a touch of ripe pear — aromas. 

Medium-weight, the palate shows big — almost-too-big — acidity and is similarly citrusy with understated tree fruit. This is a straightforward wine that is mouthwatering in the extreme. If you like your whites with electric acidity, this is right in your sweet spot.

It's $16 at the winery, but can be found for well under $15 at your local wine shop.

Producer: Peconic
Bay Winery

AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $16*
Rating: 30
(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 
(*Ratings Guide)