Merliance Merlot

What happens when you take 5 of Long Islands best winemakers, a few prized barrels of Merlot from each winery, and throw them all together? You get Merliance, the new wine venture by the Long Island Merlot Alliance to showcase the complexity of this grape and the terrior from which it is grown. The alliance is made up of Pellegrini Vineyards, Raphael, Sherwood House Vineyards, Shinn Estate Vineyards, and Wolffer Estate Vineyard. Unfortunately this is a rather limited production wine, at a mere 250 cases, that will be available in the summer of 2006. A very small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec may sneak into the final blend each year, depending on what each vintage dictates, but it won’t be enough to crowd out the star varietal. Each winery contributes two barrels of Merlot to the blend, chosen by the group at a blind tasting. They are hoping that the final blend showcases the unique characteristics from each winery, while offering a pure look at Merlot.

This is a really good idea, and although I won’t be able to attend the preview barrel tasting of this in April, I’m sure one of my fellow bloggers will. Kudos to the Long Island Merlot Alliance, this sounds like it’s really going to be a great project.

For more information, visit the groups website at