Pick up a bottle of ‘Merliance’ on the merlot trail

A bottle of 2011 Merliance merlot. (Credit: courtesy photo)

A bottle of 2011 Merliance merlot. (Credit: courtesy photo)

Grab a bottle of Long Island’s only cooperative merlot blend and prove “Sideways” wine snob Miles Raymond wrong.

Merliance wine, made by winemakers of the Long Island Merlot Alliance, is a testament to the quality of the Long Island merlot grape, said LIMA executive director Deborah Brenner.

Organizations like LIMA have been fighting for the wine’s image ever since the merlot-hating Raymond, Paul Giamatti’s character in the 2004 film Sideways, declared that he was “not drinking any f—ing merlot.”

“We’re trying very hard to get people to see that Long Island is producing world class wines,” she said. “The Merliance wine is out there competing with any of the world class wines.”

The winemakers blend their wines together at the Premium Wine Group’s winemaking facility in Mattituck. The final barrel is barrel-aged for one year before it is bottled and released. The 2011 vintage will be the ninth year the wine has been offered.

Wine lovers can pick up a bottle at one of the seven participating wineries: Sherwood House Vineyards, Raphael, Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Clovis Point, McCall Wines, T’Jara Vineyards or Lieb Cellars.

Spend $15 at each of those wineries, which together form the “Merliance Wine Trail,” to earn stamps on your Merliance map (ask for one at the wineries). 

When you hit all seven wineries, you will receive a free bottle of Merliance wine.

The offer stands while supplies last.

A map of the Merliance wine trail. (Credit: courtesy photo)

A map of the Merliance wine trail. (Credit: courtesy photo)