I consider myself fairly sophisticated and cultured,
but a trip to an art gallery — and just an art gallery — isn’t
necessarily my cup of tea (or glass of wine.) I need a fine meal either
before the gallery or after (or maybe both) to entice me.

The way to a
man’s heart is through his stomach, right?

But, there’s a new Gallery on the North Fork that I’m willing to visit
— and open — any time. In fact, I plan to several times over the course
of the next few months.      

Bedell Cellars has
just released the newest of its art-inspired wines, the 2005 Bedell
Gallery ($45)
. The press kit lauds this wine as “further evidence that
Bedell is perfecting the art of wine.” A bold statement, but not as
boastful as it might seem.

This complex,
richly textured white is a blend of 52 percent chardonnay, 32 percent
sauvignon blanc and 16 percent viognier — a unique blend for the North
Fork or most anywhere else for that matter. Five separate lots of
chardonnay were barrel fermented in French oak with primarily native
yeast, then blended with viognier and sauvignon blanc. I tend to like
Bedell’s chardonnays and used to love founding winemaker Kip Bedell’s
varietal Viognier bottling, so this blend was intriguing even before I
popped the cork.

Pale straw yellow in the
glass, the aromas immediately rise up from the glass — before swirling
even begins — with lemons, vanilla bean, toasty marshmallow and oak,
minerals and subtle baking spice come together in a layered-yet-fresh
nose. The blend is absolutely seamless on the palate, with the three
varieties coming together without any rough edges. The result is an
elegant, well-balanced wine that is nimble on the palate but extremely
flavorful. Citrus, vanilla and mineral flavors fill the mouth and just
the right acidity brings balance and potential longevity. Balance is
truly on display here.

In a wine world
where so many emerging regions look to classic regions like Bordeaux
and Burgundy for wines to model their own after, this wine stands alone
as distinctively Long Island. The winemaking team at Bedell Cellars has
used thoughtful blending to create an outstanding wine that fully
displays, and I think explores, the potential for white wines on the
North Fork.

Perfecting the art of wine?
Maybe. But this wine is exciting because it shows off our region’s
terroir in a beautiful way — both the wine and the label, which was
designed by globally renowned artist Ross Bleckner.

They only made 200 cases, so I doubt it will last long. Visit their tasting room or for more information and to order.