2014 Raphael Estate Merlot: Wine Review

wine, red wine, review, Raphael, Estate Merlot, Merlot, wine review

Raphael Estate Merlot is an elegant, structured wine with bright fruit aromas, a medium body and balanced acidity. Hand harvested, wild fermented and bottled unfiltered and un-fined. Showing notes of blackberries, graphite and black olive, blend with fine tannins and contribute to a lingering finish.

We recently had the opportunity to taste the 2014 Raphael Estate Merlot. We tried this as one of the 4 bottles we received this quarter in our membership wine package. This 2014 Estate Merlot which was bottled 6/7/16 produced 880 cases. It is a very nice North Fork Long Island Merlot with a deep color and flavor that has an earthy scent including wet cedar and dried leaves. It screams of fall weather in NY. This is a wine that you could drink now through 2020. The dark berry flavor also can show hints of chocolate on the finish. Though we have not tried it with dessert yet, we hope to soon but heard it will pairs well.

Category: Red Wine
Blend: 100% Merlot
Region: North Fork Long Island, New York
Producer: Raphael
Alcohol: 13.3% Alc.
Price: $19.60
Aged: Mix of Neutral Oak & Stainless Steel


About The Vintage

2014 harvest was marked by the largest grape crop in Long Island history across the region. Strangely this was experienced by all growers and across all grape varieties, often up to 5 tons/acre on both white and red varieties. Farmers are always happy about a big crop, and many take as much as they can, but to produce high quality wines you often have to control the crop to achieve ripe flavors and balanced chemistry. At Raphael we chose early, after a cool summer to drop fruit in most of the vineyard and adjust the crop to levels where we felt could achieve the best results.

2014 started out with a cold winter and a lot of snow, a very late spring and bud break. Overall the growing season, June to August, was very dry with drought conditions across the region by August, growers who could irrigated regularly. Meanwhile temperatures were well below normal producing a beautiful summer of cool temperatures and low humidity for beachgoers. For about 6 weeks from mid August to the end of September we experienced no rainfall with what felt like early fall days with very cold nights below 50 F (even in August) but warm days in the 70’s. This produced great disease free conditions for ripening our early varieties of white wine grapes and Pinot Noir by retaining natural acidity and producing ripe flavors.

The ripening season September to November overall was cool and a bit wet but because of an overall cool year and larger crops all varieties were delayed in ripening. Many grapes were picked much later than normal with much of the red wine crop harvested in November. A late warm spell and no frost allowed us to hang red grapes until the second week of November while continuing to accumulate flavors. For us the wines from 2014 show exceptional natural balanced chemistry and ripeness which has made us excited about the quality and the future longevity of the 2014 Vintage!

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