This post is a part of my 12 Long Island Wines for Christmas series
that will run from now until Christmas 2007. See the entire series here.

Roman Roth isn’t a name that long-time readers of LENNDEVOURS are unfamiliar with. His primary gig is as winemaker at Wolffer Estate, but he also serves (or has served) as winemaker or consultant for wineries like Roanoke Vineyards, Shinn Estate Vineyards, Vineyard 48, Martha Clara Vineyards and Scarola Vineyards.

His Grapes of Roth 2001 Merlot ($50) was the first release from his own label. He has recently released the 2002 vintage, but I haven’t tasted it yet. Look for that soon.

In the meantime, I had to include this wine in the 12 Long Island Wines of Christmas. It was the best merlot I tasted this year.

Unfiltered and unfined, it is a deep, opaque brick red
in the glass. Highly aromatic, the nose is rich and youthful with
intense black cherries, grilled steak and Moroccan spice. As is true
with most Roth creations, this wine is fruit forward, but balanced —
with cherries, spearmint, sweet basil and faint smoked meat flavors.
Full bodied but still remarkably elegant, this is a wine of nearly
ideal balance that should improve with cellar time — probably up to ten

Roth has dedicated this wine to his father, Remigius Roth, who is pictured on the front label.

I’m hoping to do a side-by-side tasting of the 2001 and the 2002. The Wine Advocate preferred the 2002, giving it the highest score of any New York wine in it’s last review. It received 92 points, if you care about such things. The 2001 got a 91.

Can I taste the difference? Doubtful.