Raphael Merlot 2002
As in a traditional Bordeaux style wine, Raphael Merlot may also contain varying quantities of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, or Petit Verdot, but it always remains at least 80% Merlot. The selection process is extremely rigorous and yields a second wine of the same pedigree but somewhat lighter and quicker to mature.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Raphael was born from the vision of John Petrocelli, after whose father the winery is named. In Raphael, the Petrocelli Family is striving for the production of Long Island’s greatest wine, incorporating both New World advances and Old World traditions. The result is a wine with an incomparable personality, resulting from the ideal marriage of soil and climate found on the North Fork of Long Island, and is also reflected in the elegant, Mediterranean-styled winery, a picture of which adorns its label.
Increasingly garnering widespread and well-deserved attention, New York ranks third in wine production in the United States (after California and Washington). Divided into six AVAs—the Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Hudson River, Long Island, Champlain Valley of New York and the Niagara Escarpment, which crosses over into Michigan as well as Ontario, Canada—the state experiences varied climates, but in general summers are warm and humid while winters are very cold and can carry the risk of frost well into the growing season.
The Finger Lakes region has long been responsible for some of the country’s finest Riesling, and is gaining traction with elegant, light-bodied Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Experimentation with cold-hardy European varieties is common, and recent years have seen the successful planting of grapes like Grüner Veltliner and Saperavi (from the Eastern European country of Georgia). Long Island, on the other hand, has a more maritime climate influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, and shares some viticultural characteristics with Bordeaux. Accordingly, the best wines here are made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Niagara Escarpment is responsible for excellent ice wines, usually made from the hybrid variety, Vidal.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.