race-wines-2010-merlotRace Wines is the new label from veteran North Fork winemaker Greg Gove, who most recently served at Peconic Bay Winery’s winemaker. The current releases were made at PBW before it closed, but he is now making his wines at Lenz Winery.

I expected Race Wines 2010 Merlot ($20) to taste a lot like Gove’s Peconic Bay Winery 2010 Merlot, and while there are some similarities, they are far from the same. Aromas of cherry cordial and strawberry preserves are backed by notes of cocoa powder, toasty oak and vanilla — all with a smoky edge.

The palate is dense and extracted — certainly more extracted than its Peconic Bay Winery sibling — with ripe, concentrated flavors of red fruits, cocoa nib, dark roast coffee and a minty-menthol note at the end of a medium-length finish. Ample tannins that are grippy and drying provide a nice counter point to the somewhat candied fruit flavors here.

Producer: Race Wines
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $22* | Buy now from Empire State Cellars

(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)