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The Drive-Thru at the Wine Stand Will Be Closed Until 5/6

01.02.21

Wine Advocate Scores are In!

Christian's Cuvée Merlot 2017 and The Grapes of Roth Merlot 2017 both received highly impressive ratings from Robert Parker Wine Advocate of 92 and 92+ respectively. You'll definitely want to add these outstanding wines to your cellar collection and watch them get better with age for years to come. 

The Christian's Cuvée Merlot 2017 release marks the auspicious 13th year in production for this flagship wine. It is crafted from our best Merlot grapes planted in 1990 and only during our most pristine growing years. It is truly a wine for the connoisseur and collector. Mark Squires recommends enjoying between the years 2022 and 2040.

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92 Points, review by Mark Squires
The 2017 Christian's Cuvée Merlot is mostly sourced from the winery's oldest Merlot vines (1990), with 22% Cabernet Franc added in from Surrey Lane Vineyards on the North Fork (a notable increase in Cabernet Franc this year). It was aged in 50% new French barriques for 20 months and comes in at 13.6% alcohol. The winery calls the 2017 vintage an above-average year. Showing a bit of vanilla from wood in its youth, this elegant Merlot is otherwise expressive and well structured, with fine mid-palate finesse and a lingering finish. With herbs around the edges, it adds complexity and seems like a Bordeaux ringer in most respects. There's a certain earthiness to it underneath the wood. What it needs now is time, as it does need to pull in that wood. It otherwise drinks surprisingly well in its youth. While you could drink this now, that would be a mistake. With three more years in the cellar, this will acquire more complexity, pull in the wood and come to a better expression of fruit. It looks like a big winner, but it is not so clear just now where the ceiling is. Let's start here for the moment.

For those keeping track, this is an interesting comparison with its half-brother, the Grapes of Roth Merlot, also reviewed in this report. They are both Merlots from Long Island in the same vintage with the same winemaker, but they seem like very differently styled wines. The Grapes of Roth has more richness, relatively speaking, and a bit more fruitiness, even if that quality is obscured by the power for the moment. This Christian's Cuvée is more harmonious, easier to approach and more nuanced just now, with that somewhat earthier demeanor—once past the new wood. On the first day, it was the easy winner. After retasting them the next day, they seemed to draw even. This Christian's Cuvée is more approachable now and perhaps needs less cellar time, although they will both age well and will both benefit from cellar time. Then, ultimately, time will tell us where they go. There were 265 cases produced, plus some large format bottles.

 

The Grapes of Roth Merlot is consistently a showstopper and one of the highest rated wines on the East Coast. It is a true testament to winemaker Roman Roth's classic, yet adventurous, wine-making style. Mark Squires recommends enjoying between the years 2022 and 2042.

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92 + Points, review by Mark Squires
The 2017 Merlot (with a 2% dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon) was aged for approximately 20 months in French barriques (one-third each of new, second and third use) and comes in at 13.8% alcohol. Suave but sharp, this silky Merlot shows finesse and elegance. It handles the oak well. The good acidity and tannins together, however, submerge the expression of fruit just now. The tannins aren't too hard, making it likely that this will improve notably if you can give it a couple of extra years of cellaring. The track record is good, and the aging curve here usually rewards patience with this bottling. Today, however, this is disjointed and all about its potential. Not surprisingly, when I tried it again the next day, it was vastly improved. Now, you could taste the concentrated and expressive fruit. The structure supported the fruit rather than overwhelmed it. Suddenly, this looked like a potential star. Come back around 2023-2025 for a better expression of fruit and more harmony. It might be all about the potential today, but I'm leaning up. There were 340 cases produced, plus some large format bottles.

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