Raphael 2014 First Label Sauvignon Blanc is our ‘Wine of the Week’

Raphael Vineyards 2014 Sauvignon Blanc 'First Label' (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Raphael Vineyards’ 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ‘First Label’ (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Long Island’s 2015 grape harvest has begun.

All of the grapes intended for sparkling wine are in and I’ve heard reports that some have started picking chardonnay and sauvignon blanc as well. Harvest season means a lot of things on the East End. All of those awful pumpkin beers are everywhere. Actually, pumpkin everything is everywhere – including throngs of pumpkin pickers from New York City and Nassau County, eating roasted corn and clogging streets on their way to buying way more pumpkins that they need. 

What do they do with all of those pumpkins, anyway?

Remember, though, that it’s still summer, technically, even if the weather this week is straddling the line between hot summer days and cool autumn ones. This week’s wine of the week, Raphael 2014 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc, straddles styles, too.

Since his arrival on Long Island in 2007, Anthony Nappa — who serves as winemaker for Raphael as well as his own label after working for Shinn Estate Vineyards for four years — has shown a deft hand with North Fork sauvignon blanc. Perhaps his time spent studying winemaking in New Zealand – a region made famous by sauvignon blanc — helped a little.

This wine has all of the bright aromatics and flavors you want in a warm-weather white, but because it was made with 15 percent Semillon that was fermented on its skins, there is complexity and mouthfeel here that many Long Island examples don’t have.

Aromas of ripe pineapple, green melon and grapefruit are accented by distinct notes of citrus blossoms and citrusy herbs.

Full bodied and mouth-filling, the fruit-forward palate features a concentrated core of tropical, melon and citrus fruits with tongue-tingling, juicy acidity and a faint herbal edge that turns a bit hay-like on the end of a long, lingering finish.

You can enjoy it with seafood and fresh late-summer vegetables, but it is equally at home with slightly heartier early fall fair – think roasted winter squashes, pork roasts and the like.

Raphael 2014 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc sells for $28 in the Raphael tasting room.