2007 marked Croteaux Vineyards' second vintage making wine from the merlot grown on their 10-acre property. Previously the fruit was sold (and some still is) to Channing Daughters Winery and Scarola Vineyards.

Of course, owners Michael and Paula Croteau don't actually make traditional merlot with those grapes. They make rose — 3 different ones from 3 different clonal selections. And, in an industry large enough now to demand niche producers, they are as 'nichey' as they come. They call it "rose on purpose."

These three wines were originally a part of my "Week of 3s" but I think each warrants an individual post and, well, I'm the editor around here. So individual posts they shall receive.

The 314 clone of merlot comes from the St. Emilion region in Bordeaux and this wine, made by Richard Olsen-Harbich at Raphael, was 10% barrel fermented with the remaining 90% done in stainless steel tanks.

It's a pale orange-pink in the glass, and its nose is fairly expressive and fruity with lemony citrus, peaches, and red berries like strawberries and cranberries. The palate is medium bodied with more peach, cranberry and strawberry primary flavors. There are secondary, non-fruit flavor as well, mainly vanilla and earthy dried leaves. The red fruit-earthiness combo really marks this as a merlot. The acidity isn't what I'd call "bright" but it's nicely balanced and works well with the slightly creamy mid-palate. The finish lingers just  bit with cherry, earth and vanilla flavors.

I tend to like my rose super-crisp with high acidity, but this is a nice wine in a less-fresh, fuller style. The 10% barrel fermentation adds complexity without overpowering too.

Grape(s): 100% merlot
Croteaux Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $18

(2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Recommended) 

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