By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Raphael_08gcsauvblancRaphael and winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich have long made one of the North Fork's best sauvignon blancs — wines that aren't quite Loire, aren't quite California and aren't quite New Zealand. They are Long Island through and through.

With the 2008 vintage, they expanded upon their sauvignon blanc program, making two distinctly different wines: Raphael 2008 First Label Sauvignon Blanc and this wine, Raphael 2008 Grand Cru Sauvignon Blanc ($15).

Made using fruit from their younger sauvignon block, the Grand Cru is made in 100% stainless steel and is made in a bright, drink-young style.

When I tasted this, there was still a bit of sulphur on the nose, but that blew off quickly revealing fresh grapefruit and honeydew melon aromas with just a little saltwater minerality.

Medium bodied, the palate brings straight forward melon and citrus flavors with a subtle herbal edge and chalky, snappy acidity. Fruity and approachable, this must sell like crazy in the tasting room — especially on hot spring and summer days.

And, in a category (local sauv blanc) that usually requires a $20 entry fee, this is a nice value.

Producer: Raphael
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $15*
Rating: 30
(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 

(Ratings Guide)