Sauvignon blanc is one of the most important white wine grapes grown on the East End. It is well-suited to the region’s climate, soils and growing conditions and over time, a Long Island style has emerged — a style that straddles those from other more-established sauvignon blanc districts.
At its best, Long Island sauvignon blanc offers fresh fruit qualities similar to what you’ll find in California with the moderate alcohol levels and minerality found in France and acidity and subtle grassiness similar to New Zealand. It also tends to have distinct honeydew melon aromas and flavors.
This style is still emerging and being honed in on. While Long Island sauvignon blanc is almost always fresh, clean and citrusy — delicious really — it doesn’t always hit every note and come together to be something more than a casual summer sipper.
This week’s wine of the week, McCall Wines 2017 Nicola Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc ($24) might be the best local sauvignon blanc I’ve tasted this year. It’s really aromatic, with citrusy notes of grapefruit and tangerine with some of that green melon quality and a distinct peach-passionfruit-herbaceous character that almost reminds me of some of the popular hop varieties grown today.
Pure, clean citrus and melon flavors are framed by juicy, snappy acidity and a subtle citrus pith bitterness that emerges on a long finish that is just a bit grassy. If you let this wine warm up near room temperature, it broadens and becomes more complex in its fruit flavors. Tropical notes emerge as well as peaches and apricots.
Lenn Thompson has been writing about American wine — with a focus on New York —for nearly 15 years. After running newyorkcorkreport.com for 12 years, he launched thecorkreport.us in 2016 and The Cork Report Podcast soon after. He lives in Miller Place with his wife and two children.