Raphael 2010 First Label Merlot

Raphael 2010 First Label Merlot

An October 2014 Hamptons Wine Club Selection

The Raphael winery, located on Long Island in Peconic, NY, on the south side of the North Fork, was established over 18 years ago by John Petrocelli.  The winery is named after Mr. Petrocelli’s father and has one of the most beautiful tasting rooms on the North Fork.

In October we shipped two versions of their 2010 merlot: the First Label Merlot (reviewed here) and the Estate Merlot (which we will review soon).  We chose to taste the First Label Merlot next to Palmer Vineyard‘s 41/72 Merlot, their entry-level selection.  There was quite a contrast between the two wines which made the tasting quite interesting.  Bottom line: where the Palmer is a good “pizza wine”, the Raphael is a good “steak wine”.

In the glass the Raphael’s First Label is a deep, beautiful ruby red.  There was little lightening around the edges.  On the nose the wine was closed at first but eventually opened up.  It had a variety of fragrances.  We found floral notes (violets? geraniums?), some fruit and a hint of leather.

In the mouth the wine was complex and full-bodied.  There was some spice (cinnamon?) and dried fruit (plum?).  The finish was dry but softer than the Palmer which had more of an acidic backbone.  You can drink this wine tonight but it would not suffer from some more aging.  This wine will go well with a nice hunk of grilled red meat.  Overall, a very enjoyable bottle of wine.

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