Wölffer Merlot 2003
Technical Notes: This wine is 88% Merlot from Wölffer's oldest Merlot vines (planted in 1990 and 1991), with a yield of 2.4 tons per acre and 12% Cabernet Franc with a yield of 1.8 tons/acre. The luscious, ripe grapes were selected and hand picked on October 29th. The long hang time was the culmination of an excellent growing season. The grapes were also carefully hand sorted, then chilled to 50°F to cold soak for four days, followed by tank fermentation with a maximum temperature of 85°F. The must was meticulously pumped over three times a day during the peak of fermentation. The skin contact (maceration) lasted for a total of 30 days. The wine was then gently pressed, and the press fraction was separated. After one week, the wine went into French Barriques (50% new oak and 50% one-year-old oak) for 20 months, where it completed 100% malolactic fermentation. Gentle racking with CO2 (bulldog pub instead of a pump) was done six times. It was bottled unfiltered and unfined in August 2004. Total production was 548 cases of 750ml bottles. Tasting Notes: Dark claret in color, this very traditionally made, Bordeaux-style wine has subtle aromas of tobacco and cedar with crushed cranberry and blackberry fruit followed by hints of vanilla. It is medium to full-bodied, with lush fruit, wonderful dried dates and plum characters.The wine has great structure with round, well-integrated tannins. The seamless, warm finish lingers in a classic style. The wine's exceptional balance gives it both food-friendliness and great aging potential. Serving Suggestions: Serve at cellar temperature. This wine is an ideal companion to big, juicy steaks; barbecued meats of all types; lamb; and game.Its elegant yet rich flavors also make it perfect with cheeses including aged, creamy, and blue-veinedor savor it slowly on its own.
The nose is lightly floral and filled with ripe peach and apricot aromas. This stone fruit character carries over to a light, fresh palate, with balanced sweetness and superb acidity.
Fermented 100% in French oak (20% new) and it is among the best barrel fermented chardonnays around. The nose is toasty, as you'd expect, but ripe peaches and apricots are joined by marshmallows toasted over a bonfire, providing depth and complexity on the nose. Medium-to-full bodied, the stone fruit flavors are rich and mouth-filling with more subtle toasty oak and vanilla play beneath. Perfectly balanced by acidity, there is an intriguing kiwi note on a very lengthy finish.
External Reviews for Wölffer Merlot
As anyone who drinks wine with any level of serious knows, Chardonnay is a wine with many guises. There are steely, super-fresh steel fermented renditions, barrel-fermented, big-and-buttery Chardonnays, and there are wines that can fall anywhere in between those two extreme. On Long Island, where a long, slow growing season and typically cooler night breezes help white wine grapes their natural acidity, there are tasty examples of Chardonnay in all of its iterations. One of the most consistent producers is Wolffer Estate, one of three wineries on the even cooler South Fork. Roman Roth, winemaker since the wineries inception, crafts three different Chardonnays that run the gamut from every day white all the way to his flagship Chardonnay, the Estate Selection. I used to eschew barrel-fermented Chardonnay, but wines like Roth Wolffer Estate's 2003 Estate Selection Chardonnay are the reason I don't anymore. It's fermented 100 percent in French oak (20% new) and it is among the best barrel fermented Chardonnays produced locally. The nose is toasty, as you'd expect, but ripe peaches and apricots are joined by marshmallows toasted over a bonfire, providing depth and complexity on the nose. Medium-to-full bodied, the stone fruit flavors are rich and mouth-filling with more subtle toasty oak and vanilla play beneath. Perfectly balanced by acidity, there is an intriguing kiwi note on a very lengthy finish. Roth is the maker of the East Coast's most expensive and luxurious Merlot, Wolffer's Premier Cru Merlot ($125). With Chardonnay like this one, can a Premier Cru Chardonnay be far behind?