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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Wolffer Estate The Grapes of Roth Merlot 2005

Merlot from New York
  • WS91
  • WE90
  • RP90
13.5% ABV
  • WS92
  • WS92
  • WE90
  • WS89
  • RP92
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Veteran winemaker Roman Roth's personal label built its reputation on merlot. This elegant, nuanced merlot features cherry, licorice, tobacco, subtle dried herbs and graphite aromas and flavors.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 91
Wine Spectator
This red comes in a clumsy bottle, but the wine is supple and elegant, with expressive flavors of black cherry, anise, tobacco and mineral, supported by well-integrated tannins and balanced acidity. Harmonious, clean and long.Drink now through 2015. 121 cases made.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Big and brooding with richly concentrated black plums and velvety, mouth-filling tannins, Roman Roth’s namesake Merlot is boldly structured, but beautifully nuanced as well, with sprays of violet perfume and just a whiff of wet, earthy forest and dried herb notes. Drink now with a good decant, or hold for another 2–3 years.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Incorporating 15% Malbec, Roth’s 2005 Merlot – from Schneider vineyards – smells of cardamom-tinged cassis, joined on a dense but texturally pliant palate by darkly-roasted coffee and nuts. Suggestions of salt and char add invigoration to an intense finish. This is more opaque and thicker than the corresponding 2004, with imposing ripeness but it is manifestly unresolved.
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Wolffer Estate

Wolffer Estate

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Wolffer Estate, New York
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Wölffer Estate, an American Winery in the Classic European Tradition in Sagaponack, New York: Here, in the heart of the Hamptons, a collection of quaint villages stretched like a string of pearls on the shores of the Atlantic, is Wölffer Estate, a winery like none other on the east end of Long Island.

Owned by Hamburg-born Christian Wölffer, the 55-acre winery, located between Southampton to the west and Easthampton to the east, is at once an American winery but with a decidedly European character, both in its spirit and its wines. The winery currently produces 13,000 cases annually.

Under winemaker and general manager Roman Roth’s meticulous care, Wölffer Estate wines embody the region as well as a classical style of winemaking, with a rich concentration of fruit and lively acidity born of the unique terroir of these Sagaponack vineyards, similar in some respects to conditions in Bordeaux. In fact, it is the condition of the local soil, called Bridgehampton loam, a by-product of the glacial moraine that formed Long Island, that provides a perfect host for grapevines.

New York

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An often-overlooked wine-producing state that has recently begun to garner widespread attention, New York trails significantly behind California and Washington in volume produced but is ahead of Oregon. The vast majority of its produce is dedicated to large-scale production of wines made from Vitis labrusca and French-American hybrid varieties, like the common table grape Concord. The quality of New York’s best wines, however, should not be underestimated. Divided into six AVAs—the Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Hudson River, Long Island, Champlain Valley of New York, and Niagara Escarpment, which crosses over the borders into Michigan as well as Ontario, Canada—the state experiences varied climates, but in general summers are warm and humid while winters are 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. 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 hybrid variety Vidal.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

WBW30082482_2005 Item# 117480