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Waters Crest Winery 2012 Merlot

A bottle of Waters Crest Winery 2012 Merlot. (Credit: Lenn Thompspn)

Waters Crest Winery 2012 Merlot

I keep reading a lot about 2013 Long Island reds lately. I’m sure you have too. Some are even calling it “Long Island’s Best Vintage.”

Take those proclamations with a grain of salt — at least for now.

It was a great growing season, no doubt, but nearly every vintage is labeled “the greatest” at some point, either during harvest or once the wines start coming out. Keep in mind that no matter the vintage or its quality, wineries need to sell their wine. Labeling it as “the best” is just one among myriad ways they can try to do that.

I’ve heard 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and now 2013 all called “the best” by one person or another  — but guess what? I’ve found great wines in most of the in-between vintages too. But we’ll get into that another time, perhaps.

Before we jump ahead to the 2013 — which really are showing well by the way — here’s a bit about a tasty merlot from the 2012 vintage: Waters Crest Winery 2012 Merlot.

You may know Waters Crest for its small tasting room tucked into an industrial strip mall on Route 48, but that’s old news now. Jim Waters recently opened his new, larger room in a standalone building on Main Road in Cutchogue. It’s a beautiful place that even more recently sold out of this wine – but you can still find it in local shops.

The nose offers intense red cherry aromas that lean almost to the candied, but are kept in check by hints of tobacco, toasty oak and mossy earth.

Medium bodied, the palate starts off with sweet red fruit and a toasty edge. The tannins are of medium intensity and support the earthy, mossy-mushroomy complexity and just a splinter of oak. The finish is smooth and almost creamy, but there is enough stuffing here for at least short-term aging and possibly longer-term.