By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

One-woman-08-merlotBecause of the diminutive size of its tasting room and location at the far eastern end of the unofficial Route 48 wine trail, One Woman Wines is still under the radar for many visitors to North Fork wine country.

The one woman behind One Woman Wines is Claudia Purita, who grew up on her family's farm in Calabria, Italy, where she learned farming and viticulture.

After moving to Long Island as an adult and working in the restaurant industry, she decided it was time to "return to her roots" in 2004 planting much of the 16-acre vineyard by hand and doing most of the vineyard work herself.

I recently tasted through One Woman's portfolio and the lone red, this One Woman Wines 2008 Merlot ($28) was the standout.

It spent 16 months in new French oak, so the smoky, spicy aromas — including a serious, almost syrah-esque dose of black pepper — aren't surprising. They don't overwhelm the plum, black cherry and subtle blueberry aromas, however.

Medium bodied and bit rustic, the palate is even more syrah-like with peppery, smoky flavors over top of dark fruit flavors. The tannins are light, but there's good acidity here. It turns a just a bit woody on the medium-length finish.

Producer: One Woman Wines
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.7%  
Price: $28*

(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)

(*Ratings Guide)