Onabay_06nightheronmerlotOnabay Vineyards 2006 "Night Heron" Merlot ($25)  is a blend of 86% merlot, 9% cabernet franc and 5% syrah. That syrah worried me a bit because Long Island syrah, particularly in a cooler year like 2006, doesn't often impress..

But I had no reason for concern. I like this wine quite a bit.

A nicely extracted medium-dark garnet, the nose offers nice dark fruit aromas of black cherry, black berry and even a little blueberry, accented by basil, thyme and a little smokiness.

That same dark fruit character, black cherry and black raspberry this time, leads on an elegant, medium-bodied palate. Secondary flavors of herbs, mocha and subtle graphite — especially on the long finish — add layers of complexity. The tannins are of medium-intensity, but well integrated. They bring grip but don't overwhelm or punish the palate.

This is a well-priced, delicious merlot that represents Long Island's unique terroir extremely well.

Grape(s): 86% merlot, 9% cabernet franc and 5% syrah
Producer: Onabay Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $25
Rating: 30
(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 
(Ratings Guide)