As you know, lots of Long Island winemakers still focus on the parallels between their
own region and Bordeaux. Merlot and the cabernets–sauvignon and
franc–are clearly the dominant red grapes here and they do well
(except maybe sauvignon, which only thrives in the best years in the
But, market conditions being what they are, most white
wine made in these parts is made with chardonnay, the white grape of
Burgundy. Those wines can be simple and gulpable or rich, complex and
truly Burgundian, but they are nothing like white Bordeaux, which are
made with sauvignon blanc and semillon.
Luckily, many of my favorite producers have been making
some terrific sauvignon blancs. These are some of the wines I’m most
Richard Olsen-Harbich got his start in
winemaking in the Finger Lakes, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that
the man knows what he’s doing with aromatic, steel-fermented whites and
his Raphael 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($22) reflects that–as well as his
dedication to Long Island’s unique terroir.
Fermented entirely in stainless steel at 45 degrees, this wine
is explosively aromatic on the nose with grapefruit and gooseberries
accented by intense grassiness and salty minerality.
Medium bodied and
tremendously flavorful, it’s citrusy, fresh and and deliciously tart
with terrific acidity, hints of herbs and minerals and a lingering, lemony finish. Local shellfish is the ideal match for this fine example of Long Island sauvignon.