Say what you will about Long Island wine prices, but I’ve recently tasted at least three reds for under $20 that I’d happily drink any day of the week, including this blend of merlot and cabernet franc — Mattebella Vineyards NV Famiglia Red ($17).
Clean, ripe-but-not-over-ripe fruit — primarily black cherry and plum, is accented on the nose by a light sprinkling of spice and leaf tobacco.
Lean and lively, the focused, medium-bodied palate shows similar fruit qualities as well as well-integrated lighter tannins, table-friendly acidity and a low oak footprint. There is a charming purity of fruit here that I appreciate. And, with some time in the glass, more of the spice and tobacco notes from the nose re-emerge on the palate — along with a gently earthy edge.
Producer: Mattebella Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)