166473_489576099298_314881524298_5777981_4995862_n By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

Now this is a wine that has enjoyed quite a bit of local attention in recent months.

I first tasted it when it won the red wine flight at "The Judgment at Riverhead" back in November. Then in January, it was named NYCR Non-Merlot Red Wine of the Year. And just a few weeks ago, I included it in our March 2011 Times Union New York Wine Club shipment.

Sometimes wines hype is hollow and just not warranted. With Roanoke Vineyards 2007 Blend One ($43) that is decidedly not the case. This is a special wine from grapes grown during a special season.

Roman Roth, perhaps best know as the winemaker at Wolffer Estate and for his private label Grapes of Roth, and Roanoke Vineyards' co-owner Richard Pisacano have worked together for many years at Wolffer where Pisacano is the vineyard manager. Given their personal and professional relationship — one founded on mutual respect and admiration — it's no surprise that Roth makes the wines at Roanoke where the Roth-Pisacano collaboration reaches its pinnacle.

There is a certain, hard-to-define artistry about the Roanoke Vineyards wines. One gets the impression that Roth is encouraged to take risks in the cellar, to push the envelope and extract every last bit of character and flavor from Pisacano's grapes.

A blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot and 12% cabernet franc, the intensity of the hot, dry 2007 growing season is captured in a ripe, generous nose of blackberry, currant and sweet cherry layered with spicy oak, subtle dried herbs,

Full bodied and extremely well balanced, the palate shows an intense, ripe core of berry and plum fruit accentuated by classic North Fork earthiness, a light sprinkling of herbs, spice and just a bit of caramel-vanilla. Ripe and well-integrated, the tannins are full, but rounded. The finish is well-balanced and lengthy.

This is a wine that shows the power — and grace — that the best Long Island reds display.

Producer: Roanoke Vineyards
AVA: North Fork
ABV: 13%
Case Production: 148 cases
Price: $43
Rating: 92