, owned by New Line Cinema chairman Michael Lynne, produces
mostly white wines (the reds are bottled under sister winery Bedell
label), including one of Long Island’s best gewurztraminers, a
flavorful late harvest riesling and two different styles of chardonnay.

Too often, Long Island chardonnay is severely over oaked in an
attempt to make the rich, buttery style that (unfortunately) remains so
popular with consumers. These wines usually fail because, unlike warmer
California regions, local fruit just doesn’t get as ripe and can’t
stand up to heavy oak.

Disappointingly few local producers balance
fruit and oak well — but CoreyCreek Vineyards 2005 Reserve Chardonnay ($30) pulls it off.

2005 was a super-ripe vintage on Long Island and that comes
through in this wine. Medium straw yellow in the glass, it has a
toasty, citrusy nose that has definite ripe Mandarin orange undertones
and grapefruit.

It’s not the most complex chardonnay, but the balance
is impeccable. Rich flavors of lemon, orange, white flowers and toasted bread
remain bright and crisp because malolactic fermentation was stopped at
64%. Medium bodied from start to finish, the length is medium long.

In August, this was named New York State’s top chardonnay at
the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic in Canandaigua. Do I think
it’s New York’s best? No, but it’s hard to find a better balanced wine
that is more versatile at the table.