Comtesse-therese-06-hungarian-merlotBy Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

2006 was anything but a banner year on the North Fork. What was a mediocre growing season to begin with was worsened by two early frost events in early fall.

The reds from the vintage generally — remember, there are always exceptions — reflect that as a lack of ripeness and fruit intensity.

This Comtesse Therese 2006 Hungarian Oak Merlot ($21) largely lacks under-ripe or green flavors but does lack some concentration.

On the nose, scents of cigar box, black pepper and brown spice are a bit too much for the understated red cherry aromas. Similarly, the palate show some red cherry and dried fruit character, but not quite enough to balance the woodsy spice, cigar box and slightly stemmy flavors.

I really like the spicy qualities of this wine, but even with noticeable oak tannins and good acid, there isn't enough fruit here.

At fives year old, this wine may just be past peak.

Producer: Comtesse Therese
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.5%  
Price: $21*

(2 out of 5 Average)

(*Ratings Guide)