You’ve probably read that 2008 wasn’t a superlative vintage on Long Island. Compared to 2005, 2007 or 2010 that’s probably true, but over time I’ve found that with an extra year or two of bottle age, many 2008s come together nicely — offering far less intensity than those lauded years, but also a bit more complexity and a lot more food-friendliness.

And as if that weren’t endearing enough — very few 2008s fall victim to the “let’s see how much we can charge for this” pandemic.

Macari Vineyard Estate Merlot ($19) is a well-priced red that will improve an array of meals with its aromas of red cherry, cured meat, sweet herbs and smokey tobacco — leading into a lively medium-bodied palate that combines red berry and minty aloe flavors, light but grippy tannins and lively acidity.

Producer: Macari Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13.8%
Price: $19* | Buy now from Empire State Cellars


(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)