The only thing holding sauvignon blanc back from taking over the Long Island white wine scene is acreage. There just isn't enough planted, and with the economy where it is, few are investing in new plantings.
Eventually it will happen. It has to. The grape shows that much promise here.
But for now, those with the vines in the ground are working to establish a regional style — one that is unique and defies comparisons to other classic styles.
Paumanok Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($24) is made entirely with fruit from the Massoud's new planting of sauvignon blanc, one heavy on a muscat clone. Their older planting went entirely to a late harvest wine in 2009.
Winemaker Kareem Massoud prefers sauvignon without the grassy-herbal character so many of us associate with the grape. Previous vintages have shown little of that quality, but this vintage shows a bit, both on the nose and on the palate.
The nose is extremely tropical — typical of the sauvignon blanc musque clone — with aromas of papaya, passion fruit, peach and mandarin orange with just a subtle grassy note beneath that fruit cocktail.
Ripe and similarly tropical, the mouth-filling, almost opulently fruit-driven palate shows crisp acidity that creates tension on the mid-palate and cuts through all that fruit. The long, balanced finish brings a distinct mango note with a bit of grapefruit zest.
I've tasted some delicious sauvignon blanc this summer. This is my favorite, regardless of region.
Producer: Paumanok Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Harvest Dates: October 2, 14, 2009
Brix at Harvest: 21.4, 21.7
TA: 7.8 g/l
Case Production: 636