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Martha Clara Vineyards Merlot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)
Martha Clara Vineyards Merlot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

To some, Martha Clara Vineyards is the winery with the animals, the weddings and the concerts. It has those — it’s true. Martha Clara also has a varied wine portfolio, perhaps the most varied on Long Island.

From the sweeter, entry-level Glacier’s End label up through the reserve line, winemaker Juan Eduardo Micieli-Martinez aims to have something for everyone.

That’s no small feat given the throngs of tasters who visit the property every year.

Sometimes trying to be everytihng to everyone leads you down the path to not being anything to anyone, but that’s not true at Martha Clara. There are some gems to be found in the wine lineup, including this week’s Wine of the Week: Martha Clara Vineyards’ 2013 Estate Reserve Merlot ($38).

Made with grapes grown primarily in the “A blocks” of the winery’s Northville Vineyard, this blend of 90 percent merlot, 6 percent cabernet sauvignon and 4 percent petit verdot showcases what’s best about local merlot but also shows what small additions of other grapes can do to give merlot a boost of complexity and structure. It was aged for 18 months in both American and French oak barrels before bottling.

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Black plums and black cherries dominate the nose, but I also found some dark chocolate and spice notes.

In its youth, this wine’s tannins are still quite grippy and chewy — but still don’t overwhelm a nicely concentrated black-and-blue fruit palate that is accented by notes of cocoa powder, sweet cedar and peppery spice.

Dry and not at all over-oaked (like so many “reserve” bottlings), this is a wine that should improve with time in your cellar — and before it’s released this summer.

If you’re going to drink it sooner, have it with some well-marbled beef or maybe some smoked pork.

410 cases were produced and it will be available for $38 at the winery sometime this summer.

Lenn Thompson


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