06/16/17 6:01am

Raphael 2015 Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

This time of year it’s always great to have an armory of barbecue red red wines at one’s disposal — bottles that are fruity, not too complicated and most definitely affordable. Opinions vary on the “best” wines for food hot off the grill, but drinking what tastes good to you matters more than anything any so-called expert says. Even this one.

Our “Wine of the Week,” Raphael 2015 Cabernet Franc ($23), is a good option if you like local cabernet franc in a silky smooth style.

Winemaker Anthony Nappa has spent much of his career here on the Island dedicated to making wines that remain true to the region’s terroir and letting the vintage’s conditions shine through. (more…)

01/30/17 6:01am
Raphael La Fontana. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

Raphael La Fontana. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

“My goal for this wine is more savory and tannin driven, but still light on its feet. The influence is from my love of Italian wines, in this case particularly Barolo.”

That’s how Raphael winemaker, Anthony Nappa, describes his approach to Raphael 2013 La Fontana, a blend of estate-grown merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot that was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. You won’t hear many local winemakers talk about Italy as their inspiration, but Nappa often does. It’s refreshing in a region still dominated with Bordeaux references and descriptions of why the wines aren’t like those in California. (more…)

08/17/16 10:30am
Raphael 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Raphael 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

In a wine region dominated by merlot, cabernet franc and other varieties found traditionally in Bordeaux, those same grapes also dominate the rosé landscape.

Raphael winemaker Anthony Nappa focuses on a red variety that you don’t see nearly as much on Long Island: pinot noir. Perhaps the best-known wine in his eponymous private label is his Anthony Nappa Wines Anomaly, a white pinot noir that looks like a rosé, even if Nappa doesn’t call it that. (more…)

05/21/16 5:51am

Raphael

Earlier this month, we told you Anthony Nappa is one of four North Fork winemakers highlighted in a June 2016 Wine Enthusiast article about the future of the local industry.

Now, the magazine has awarded a coveted 93 points, or “excellent,” to Raphael Winery’s 2013 Primo Reserve Estate Bottled Red — a wine Nappa produced in his role as winemaker at the Peconic operation. It’s among the highest rankings the publication has ever given a Long Island wine.

(more…)

05/11/16 3:04pm
Credit: Lenn Thompson

Credit: Lenn Thompson

Read wine descriptions or reviews — or talk to a winemaker or tasting room staff member — and you’re bound to hear about how well a wine will age. Something along the lines of “will age gracefully for the next 10 years or more.”

The fact is that these are just guesses — sometimes educated guesses, yes — but guesses none the less.

It’s nearly impossible for anyone to know exactly how a wine will evolve in your cellar. Some wines improve for a long time. Others improve only for a year and then start to fade. Just “hanging on” doesn’t make a wine cellar-worthy. I’m not interested in whether or not a wine will hang on and be drinkable 20 years from now. What is important to me is if a wine will improve in the bottle. (more…)

09/23/15 6:00am

Grapes ripening at Corey Creek VIneyards in Southold. (Credit: Randee Daddona for northforker)

After writing grape harvest reports for more than a decade, I’ve learned a few things. One, every winemaker is hopeful this time of year. Comments like “This will be an outstanding vintage” and “XYZ will be a great year for Long Island wine” abound.

I’ve also learned that it’s not always true. It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of wine and wine country, but this is a business — the business of selling wine. That salesmanship begins before the grapes are even picked. (more…)

04/27/15 5:50am
Bedell Cellars

A wedding at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue. (Courtesy Roberto Falck Photography.)

The lush grapevines and budding fruit of Long Island’s vineyards serve as some of the most beautiful backdrops for New York weddings, according to a blogger featured on marthastewartweddings.com. (more…)