Wolffer_02esmI’ve written about the wines of Wolffer Estate several times, so I probably don’t need to provide much background here.

Just know that despite vineyards that have slightly more chardonnay in them than merlot, Wolffer, and winemaker Roman Roth are devoted to Long Island merlot. They are a founding member of the Long Island Merlot Alliance and also create Long Island’s most expensive merlot — their Premier Cru Merlot ($125).

One can easily argue the merits of both a $125 bottle of Long Island wine and the LIMA, but today we’re talking about Wolffer Estate Vineyards’ 2002 Estate Selection Merlot ($35).

Made with fruit from the estate’s oldest merlot vines (planted in 1990 and 1991), the nose exhibits ripe but understated raspberry, cherry, cranberry and cedar aromas. Medium bodied, the palate shows nice complexity with red berry, cinnamon, black pepper, mineral and cocoa flavors — all with ripe, gently gripping tannins and understated acidity.

For my money, it’s hard not to argue for buying three bottles of this in lieu of one bottle of Premier Cru. But, something tells me that people buy Premier Cru less for the wine itself and more just to say that they did.