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Martha Clara’s 2010 Northville Red Blend. (Cyndi Murray photo)

The Long Island wine region, relatively young in comparison to that of California or the Old World vines, often gets put into broad categories like North Fork and South Fork. But Martha Clara Vineyards winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez is hoping to change that.

Martha Clara’s newly released 2010 Northville red blend answers the question ‘what’s in a name?’ in this week’s edition of northforker’s “Wine of the Week.”

The wine’s name is a nod to the location where the winery’s grapes are grown — Northville, a section of Riverhead known for its farming history.

Micieli-Martinez embraced a naming technique based on the wine’s “terroir,” or specific location where the grapes are grown. Differences can be detected in the same type of grape from the same region depending on soil, he noted.

“Right now we’re all lumped together,” Micieli-Martinez said. “Even years ago potato farmers knew there is a different between a potato grown in Northville and one grown near the Peconic Bay. As time goes on and the wine industry continues to grow, you’ll see differences in the way grapes are referred to. It won’t be called a North Fork merlot. It will be called a Northville merlot or a Roanoke Hills merlot or Southold merlot.”

“I think it is important to pay homage to the area where the grapes are produced,” he added.

While the story behind the 2010 Northville is pretty good, drinking it is even better. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association recently awarded the wine Best Bordeaux Style Blend on the East Coast.

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This medium-bodied wine has notes of dried cranberry, cocoa, and fennel seed with hints of dried herbs. To create the blend, Micieli-Martinez used 78% merlot grapes, 8% cabernet franc, 6% petit verdot, 5%, cabernet sauvignon and 3% malbec.

It is best enjoyed with hearty Italian dishes, roasted poultry, grilled veggies or meats and full-flavored cheeses, Micieli-Martinez said.

Martha Clara’s 2010 Northville Red is available for $23.99 at the vineyard’s Riverhead tasting room located at 6025 Sound Avenue.


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