Wine Spectator rates 5 Long Island wines 88 points and higher

The Nov. 30 issue of Wine Spectator magazine. (Credit: Wine Spectator courtesy)

The Nov. 30 issue of Wine Spectator magazine. (Credit: Wine Spectator courtesy)

When it comes to bestowing accolades, Wine Spectator Magazine hasn’t held back this year in its praise for Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

The May 20 edition of the publication hailed the Sagaponack vineyard as one of three Long Island “wineries to watch,” along with McCall Wines and Bedell Cellars, both in Cutchogue.

Wölffer Estate’s latest achievement is an ode to longtime winemaker Roman Roth, who also produces wine for Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead.

Roth produced all five of the Long Island wines highlighted in the magazine’s Nov. 30 issue.  The selections include two Wölffer Estate wines — 2013 Trebbiano and 2013 savignon blanc — that each earned 88 points on Spectator’s prestigious 100-point scale. The other three — Roanoke Vineyards 2010 Prime Number, 2010 cabernet franc and 2010 The Hill — each earned 90 points. Wines rated 85 and above are deemed “very good” and a wine rated 90 points and higher is considered “outstanding.”

“I put so much passion into the winemaking,” said Roth, who became winemaker at Wölffer Estate in 1992.  “Especially now, at harvest time, you give your life and all your energy putting in 14-hour days making it. It is all with the intention that people love your wine; that is the goal. When that happens, they give one good score and you get praise. It is very rewarding.”

Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews, who has written for the magazine since 1987, selected the wines through a blind taste test.

Roanoke Vineyards’ 2010 cabernet franc, which was labeled an “expert pick” in northforker’s fall 2014 Long Island Wine Press, received a 90-point rating from Matthews.

“This savory red exhibits a core of black cherry fruit, with dominant meaty, smoky and herbal flavors,” he wrote. “Light, firm tannins lend this crisp and lively version intensity and personality.”

Although a 2012 Wine Spectator article noted that “few Long Island wines reach or exceed 90 points,” Steven Bate, president of the Long Island Wine Council, said that is changing. In fact, the region’s wines increasingly receive 90-point scores, helping the 40-year old industry to flourish, he said.

“It is always great when any of our wineries score extremely well, which they have been doing with more and more frequency,” Bate said. “This is great for our region.”

“It is about breaking the prejudice,” Roth added.  “There was a glass ceiling in the old days. We were a new wine region and we couldn’t get these great scores. But slowly we are breaking into this 90-point territory and ultimately 95 points and one day 100 points.”

An excerpt from  Wine Spectator's Nov. 30 issue. (Wine Spectator Magazine courtesy photo)

An excerpt from Wine Spectator’s Nov. 30 issue. (Wine Spectator Magazine courtesy photo)