In a wine region dominated by merlot, cabernet franc and other varieties found traditionally in Bordeaux, those same grapes also dominate the rosé landscape.
Raphael winemaker Anthony Nappa focuses on a red variety that you don’t see nearly as much on Long Island: pinot noir. Perhaps the best-known wine in his eponymous private label is his Anthony Nappa Wines Anomaly, a white pinot noir that looks like a rosé, even if Nappa doesn’t call it that.
Our wine of the week, Raphael 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir, is mostly pinot noir as well, with 15% chardonnay blended in. The pinot comes from upstate but also another winery’s block on the North Fork.
“I think it (pinot noir) works very well in this style. Like Anomaly, it shows the power and body of pinot but with more elegance and restraint than other varietal roses,” Nappa told me in an email.
And he’s right. There’s the subtle earthiness that you’d expect from pinot, but this is a fruit-driven rosé dominated by flavors of raspberry and cranberry with citrus at the edges – think sweet grapefruit and lime. It’s broad in the mouth, but still elegant and lithe, with juicy, almost-tart cranberry acidity.
Why blend in 15% chardonnay? Nappa said that “Just like in Champagne, pinot noir and chardonnay go very well together and the chardonnay helps with some roundness as well as acid and fruit.”
We can expect more pinot rosé from Nappa and Raphael in the future. The winery has planted some in their estate vineyard, though they’ll likely keep buying fruit from other sources as well.
Raphael Rosé of Pinot Noir ($24) is available in the tasting room located at 39390 Main Road, Peconic.