If you haven’t seen it already, check out Michael Steinberger’ pro-Merlot (when done well of course) story for Slate.com titled Defending Merlot — It’s Not Always Bad. I drink merlot a lot…I admit it. But, almost never from California. As Steinberger says, they are often (usually? always?) overripe and almost never good values. I drink a lot of…drumroll please…Long Island merlot. I know, you’re floored right now and can’t believe it. Our cooler climate leads to a slow, steady ripening curve, mature tannins without losing fruit forwardness and leaving a touch of acidity. In the hands of our better winemakers…good…

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I first tasted this wine on a cold, rainy Friday night, after a five-hour drive to Philadelphia that should have taken just a shade over three. Long Island traffic, the driving rains and, of course, the insanely packed New Jersey Turnpike tried to set the tone for a weekend in the City of Brotherly Love with friends…but when we arrived, Paul and Sara had this riesling waiting for us. And all was right in the world again. It was the perfect post-traumatic-driving trip elixer and we bought some the next day at Moore Brothers Wine. The Thielen family has been…

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W. Blake Gray, a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle did a write-up today on wines from back east (non-Cali)…including several from New York (and Long Island). It’s nice to see NY wines mentioned…but I think California wine arrogance reared its ugly head a bit in places. Richard Olsen-Harbich, winemaker and managing director at Raphael was interviewed for the piece. Take it from me, he is always great for a quote. I found his assessment of Long Island merlot particularly interesting…and I’ve inquired as to which ones were tasted. Not because I don’t agree (I’ve said before that I…

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You can blame it on Sideways if you want, but the fact is, pinot noir is smoking hot. Several New York winemakers tell me that people come to their tasting rooms and buy cases of their pinot noir without even tasting it. Frankly, that’s not too bright because of a lot of it is mediocre at best…but I digress… The rest of pinot noir’s family is being left out in the cold…but that’s about to change with Wine Blogging Wednesday #10 — White Pinot, hosted by Alice of My Adventures in the Breadbox. Many of you have been whining clamoring…

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After swimming through posts covering 39 wines, Sam from Becks & Posh has finally gotten around to posting her round-up of Wine Blogging Wednesday #9 — Tickled Pink. It’s about damn time! (Just teasing Sam) As you can see, she did a wonderful job for us…breaking the posts up by origin. Looking at the list, I’m thinking I need to reach beyond this over-grown sand bar for my wines…some great stuff out there it seems. If nothing else, I need to get myself some of the most-enjoyed bottles to try over the summer. Let’s thank Sam for the great job…

Finally…the Supreme Court has declared wine shipping prohibitions unconstitutional. This is going to be big for Long Island wineries I think. While some argue that the old laws protect small, local producers…I think a lift on this ban is going to help some of our top winemakers get their wares in front of more people…which is always a good thing. I’m busy at the day job today…but I’m sure the entire wine blogging community be writing about this in coming days and weeks.

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(This column originally appeared in the 5/13 issue of Dan’s Papers) Two Firsts and a New Old Favorite from Raphael Located on sixty gently sloping acres in Peconic, Raphael is best known among North Fork wine trail junkies for its magnificent tasting room. Overflowing with Mediterranean style and offering spectacular views of the vineyard, the popularity of the facility is easy to understand. Behind this aesthetic splendor, I’ve always found the tasting room staff friendly and the wines good. The focus is Merlot, but I’ve always liked the Rose and Sauvignon Blanc as well. In fact, Raphael’s Sauvignon Blanc was…

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Wine Blogging Wednesday #9 is finally here, hosted by Sam of Becks & Posh…who has demanded that we Think Pink. Everyone knows that I try to drink Long Island wine when possible for WBW, and this edition is no different. In the past few weeks, several Long Island wineries have released new, Provence-style pink wines…but the one I got my hands on first comes from Wolffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack — 2004 Rose. Year in and year out, Wolffer makes one of the best Roses not only on the Island but that I taste period. It’s always bone dry and…

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As of yesterday, Galluccio Family Winery and its 82 acres are up for sale. The asking price is $8.97 million. Vincent Galluccio, formerly a telecom executive, bought the former Gristina Vineyards for $5.2 million in 2000, so he’s looking at a nice profit (depending on how much he’s put into the place). The winery in Cutchogue features with two renovated tasting rooms and two barns, and has the capacity to produce 9,000 cases of wine a year. A story in Newsday today mentions breaking up the 82 acres and doing some residential stuff with it. I can only hope that…