Why you should sip ‘Merliance’ 2016 rosé

A bottle of 2016 Merliance rosé. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

For some people, rosé is strictly seasonal . You start drinking it around Memorial Day and by Tumbleweed Tuesday (the day after Labor Day), you’re done. But you’ll also find some rosé-obsessed folks who drink it year round.

I always advocate for drinking what you want, when you want. Who am I — or any writer — to tell you what to drink with whatever you’re doing or eating?

That said, I fall somewhere between the two extremes. I don’t drink a lot of rosé in the dead of winter, but it’s among my favorite wines with fall foods, especially at Thanksgiving.

I do have a confession to make, however: I don’t like most rosé that centers on merlot. There is a lot of merlot in the ground locally, so it’s inevitable that it will end up in many local pink wines, but too often merlot rosé lacks verve and leans toward the single-note and boring.

One all-merlot example that I have enjoyed recently is the Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) 2016 Rosé — the first-ever rosé produced by LIMA, a group driven to educate media and consumers on the quality of merlot and merlot based blends produced on Long Island.

To make this first rosé, member wineries Martha Clara Vineyards, Raphael, T’Jara Vineyards and Wölffer Estate Vineyard each picked one ton of Clone 3 merlot from their respective vineyards. Those grapes were taken to Raphael where winemaker Anthony Nappa made the wine (the making of the wine will rotate between the members, by the way).

The result isn’t the most complex rosé you’ll ever find, but there is a bright purity to the strawberry fruit flavors made more interesting by subtle herb and earth notes, with great, lime-juicy acidity. Not every wine needs to be ponderous, but it does need to be delicious. This wine is that.

The Merliance 2016 Rosé is available from member wineries for $23.