Since his arrival on Long Island in 2007, Anthony Nappa — who serves as winemaker for Raphael as well as his own label after working for Shinn Estate Vineyards for four years — has shown a deft hand with North Fork sauvignon blanc.
Perhaps Nappa’s time spent studying winemaking in New Zealand helped a little.
Regardless, he makes some of my favorite local sauvignon, more or less regardless of who he’s making it for or where the fruit comes from. Sometimes they are crispy and lighter-styled. Other times they are concentrated and textural.
Raphael 2014 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc ($28) continues that tradition and falls decidedly into the latter category. Made with 15% Semillon that was fermented on its skins, there is complexity and mouthfeel here that many Long Island examples don’t have.
Aromas of ripe pineapple, green melon and grapefruit are accented by distinct notes of citrus blossoms and citrusy herbs.
Full bodied and mouthfilling, the fruit-forward palate features a concentrated core of tropical, melon and citrus fruits with tongue-tingling, juicy acidity and a faint herbal edge that turns a bit hay-like on the end of a long, lingering finish.
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $28 (sample)