(Photo via northforker.com)
You can see a story I’ve written about Macari Vineyards’ use of concrete egg-shaped fermentation vessels later this month in the winter Long Island Wine Press — but in the meantime, I can tell you about a wine made using one of the two eggs found in the cellar right behind the tasting room bar: Macari Vineyards 2014 “Lifeforce” Sauvignon Blanc ($27).
Of what is planted today, sauvignon blanc is clearly the white wine grape most important to Long Island’s future as a wine region. There’s more chardonnay in the ground, but more doesn’t mean better.
Sauvignon blanc take well to our climate and soil and there is a lot of very good wine being made from it — which is great given the seafood-focused local cuisine. After all, as the saying goes, “What grows together, goes together.”
I don’t think of it as the white grape of the future here anymore. It’s the white grape of the present.
But, while almost always refreshing, it is rarely transcendent beyond that — sometimes lacking concentration and textural interest beyond big, juicy acidity. The work winemaker Kelly Urbanik Koch is doing at Macari with concrete is addressing both.
57% of the fruit that went into this wine was de-stemmed, crushed and the juice was left on the skins for nine days before being pressed a concreted egg. The rest was whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel.
Briefly, concrete allows for slow air transfer, similar to oak barrels — but without imparting oak flavors or tannins. And, because of their shape, a concrete eggs basically allows a wine to stir its own lees as it ferments.
The blending of the two ferments must have been fascinating — and the results are impressive. Ripe melon and sweet, bright citrus aromas are joined by notes of citrus blossom and lemon verbena on an expressive, complex nose – especially if you don’t over-chill the wine.
The palate is ripe but focused – both concentrated and lively. Melon and citrus flavors dominate with more of those floral and herbal notes in the background. There is a bit more mid-palate weight than many local sauvignon blancs and the texture is a standout, showing great balance between richness and acidity.
It’s a fair bet that by the time you’re looking for sauvignon blanc — maybe in the spring — this wine will be even better.
Producer: Macari Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $27 (sample)
This wine was also my northforker “Wine of the Week” a while back.