In the year 2000, the planets aligned to create a stellar vintage on the North Fork. Charles’ reserve release from this vintage, the dark and juicy 2000 Paumanok Grand Vintage Merlot, is bursting with black raspberry and vanilla. It’s a huge and luscious wine but retains its signature Long Island structure. There is also a bright and tangy standard-release Merlot.

MACARI 2000 ESTATE MERLOT ($26)


The Macari estate’s waterfront acres, 180 of them planted, are located near Mattituck on the eastern tip of Long Island’s North Fork. The property, a dormant potato farm, had been in the family for 40 years when Joseph Macari Sr. decided to plant grapes there in the mid-1990s. A new winemaking facility was completed in 1997. The winery’s emblem, a Roman Centurion’s head, is taken from a family heirloom.

This is a family-run operation, with Joseph Macari Jr. now at the head of the new winery. The family takes pride in their connection to the land, and practices sustainable agriculture, composting, and selective cover-cropping. The vineyards are also planned with a concern for local wildlife. The Macari 2000 Estate Merlot has luscious, velvety texture and ripe, smoky, rich fruit. A nice streak of acidity keeps it fresh-tasting and leads to a long finish.

BUYER’S GUIDE


RAPHAEL 1999 “First Label” MERLOT ($38)
Firm and Complex
Cellar for two to three years

PAUMANOK VINEYARDS 2000 GRAND VINTAGE MERLOT, ($33)
Huge and Luscious
Pair with succulent duck

MACARI 2000 ESTATE MERLOT, ($26)
Velvetty and Smoky
Great with bistro-style roast chicken