Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk about how much a wine costs. With Long Island wines already seen as over-priced by many and the ever-rising prices of Finger Lakes wines, it’s a topic that I cover enough already.

I can’t tell you if Wolffer Estate 2012 Christian’s Cuvee Merlot ($100) is worth that $100 price tag or not. That’s really between you and your bank account.

What I can tell you that I’ve bought it before — though admittedly not often — and that I’ve had the pleasure of drinking these wines back to the 2000 vintage and these are wonderfully balanced and age-worthy. This flagship wine isn’t a brand or marketing concoction. It’s the crown jewel in an impressive portfolio.

The 2012 vintage was fermented in a 6,000-gallon upright French oak barrel that is reserved for this wine and comprised of 96.5% merlot, with 3% cabernet sauvignon and .5% petite verdot. All told, the blend spent 19 months in French oak, but only 60% was new and that amount of oak seems just right after tasting it last week.

There is a lightly toasty, cedar-y edge to the nose, but mostly you’ll find ripe black cherry, blueberry and fig fruit notes accented by star anise and dried flowers.

Mouth-filling an lush, the palate is fruit forward, with flavors that closely match the nose. There is less toastiness here, but there are added layers of loamy earth and spice, with plush, smooth tannins and a long, vanilla-tinged finish. On the second and third days, more complexity developed as the wine was exposed to air, showing a bit more of a minty edge and a bit of graphite.

Producer: Wolffer Estate
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island
ABV: 13.5%
TA: 5. 2 g/L
pH: 3.72
Production: 220 cases
Price: $100 (sample)

 (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)

This wine was also my “Wine of the Week” for the week of October 11, 2015