MattebellaBy Lenn Thompson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Yet another new producer has popped up on the North Fork — Mattebella Vineyards.

Owned by Mark and Christine Tobin, and named for their children Matthew and Isabella, Mattebella Vineyards owns and operates a 15-acre vineyard that was planted in 1997 and 1998. Of the 15 acres, 6.5 acres are chardonnay, 6.5 are merlot and 2 are cabernet franc.

Mark makes the wines with help from the experts at Premium Wine Group, and Christine makes the decisions in the vineyard. Prior to his four new releases, Mark sold fruit to other local producers.

Now that he's making his own, he told me that he tries to "create elegant, Old World-style wines that are food friendly, with limited filtering and minimal tinkering."

We've all heard that before, but I think he's well on his way.

His Mattebella Vineayrds NV Famiglia Red ($15) seems to hit that mark — and is priced right.

Made with 96% merlot and 4% cabernet franc from the 2006 and 2007 vintages, the nose on this charming little red is certainly Old World, showing black plum and cherry fruit aromas with an earthy and graphite notes and subtle cedar character.

When first opened, the sweet oak is a little too obvious, but with a few hours in the glass (or decanted) this blend shows nice dark fruit components with a delicious earthy-graphite edge and light leather and spice notes.

The finish isn’t long, but it's not abrupt either. This is a good value in an everyday-style red with moderate, well-integrated tannins and table-friendly nice acidity.

Producer: Mattebella Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.7%
Price: $15
Rating: 30
(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 
(Ratings Guide)