Raphael_06gccOne of the greatest things about Long Island wines is their
food-friendliness. Many are fruit-forward, but they almost never
plunge into the overtly fruity, high-alcohol pool of many other New World wines.
Alcohol levels usually hover around the 12-13% level as well, meaning you
can have two or three glasses of wine with dinner and not need a nap.

Cool nights and ocean breezes help growing grapes retain their natural
acidity as well–another great benefit for those who like wine with food.
A move away from heavy new oak–or at least more judicious use of said
oak–also results in wines ideally suited to table time.

A clean, refreshing new white, Raphael‘s 2006 Grand Cru Chardonnay ($16) is
made entirely in stainless steel tanks–the way winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich thinks
local chardonnay shines most brightly.

The nose is somewhat austere,
but offers lightly fruity pear and melon aromas with a wonderful smell
of the sea in the background.

That almost-salty minerality carries
through and drives the palate with the pear and melon character taking
a step back. Medium bodied with substantial–but balanced–natural
acidity, this is an ideal summer house white that pairs well with a variety of seafood and lighter fare.

The finish
even lingers longer than expected.

Grape(s): Chardonnay
Producer: Raphael
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $16.00