There is a lot of delicious sauvignon blanc being made on Long Island in a variety of styles. Our Lenn Thompson, who recently explored this grape’s place on Long Island, choose five of the best available this summer.
Bedell Cellars 2015 Sauvignon Blanc ($35)
Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich’s experience with the grape shows here. Made from hand-harvested fruit and ambient yeasts in 100 percent stainless steel tanks, it’s flinty and floral with bright lemony citrus notes and a distinct saline quality that leads into a long finish that’s crunchy with well-integrated acidity.
Macari Vineyards 2015 Katherine’s Field Sauvignon Blanc ($24)
After a handful of vintages at Macari, winemaker Kelly Urbanik Koch has this wine dialed in. Green melon and apple aromas are accented with a sprinkle of grapefruit zest. Fuller bodied but still juicy, grapefruit and lime dominate the palate with just a bit of honeydew as it warms just a bit. Clean and fresh on the finish, there is a rocky, minerally note here, too.
Palmer Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($25)
Spanish-born winemaker Miguel Martin is making distinctive wines with several aromatic white varieties and his sauvignon blanc is no different. There is a noticeable herbal edge here that comes through as lemon balm and verbena. The nose also shows ripe melon and citrus qualities. The palate tastes almost sweet with Meyer lemon, before superior acidity brings cut and verve to the finish, which again features a subtle sea breeze note.
Paumanok Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($24)
In a bit of a cooler year, winemaker Kareem Massoud’s regular sauvignon blanc still leans to the tropical with notes of lemon and lemon oil, but also pineapple and papaya, with only subtle herbal overtones. Medium bodied, the palate shows sweet citrus and tropical fruits with similarly nuanced herbs. This is a juicy and lip-smacking sauvignon blanc with gritty acidity and a distinct pear note on the finish.
Raphael 2016 First Label Sauvignon Blanc ($27)
With a significant dose of semillon — just like in white Bordeaux — as well as some skin contact, this wine is a bit of an outlier, particularly after the 2016 season. It’s full bodied and rich across the palate, but with plenty of nervy acidity for balance. Flavors of ripe pineapple, grapefruit and cantaloupe are made more complex by notes of lemony herbs and fresh-cut hay. Long and elegant, this is always one of the best sauvignons on the island with winemaker Anthony Nappa at the helm.
A version of this story was originally published in the summer 2017 edition of the Long Island Wine Press