For some people, rosé is a strictly seasonal affair. You start drinking it around Memorial Day and by Tumbleweed Tuesday (the day after Labor Day), you’re done.

On the other hand, you’ll also find some rosé-obsessed folks who drink it year round.

You know me — I always advocate for drinking what you want, when you want. Who am I — or any writer — to tell you what to drink with whatever you’re doing or eating? That said, I fall somewhere between the two extremes. I don’t drink a lot of rosé in the dead of winter, but it’s among my favorite wines with fall foods, especially at Thanksgiving.

What I don’t drink a lot of — no matter the time of year — is 100% merlot rosé. That might seem surprising given where I live. There is a lot of merlot in the ground here on Long Island, so it’s inevitable that it will end up in many local pink wines, but too often merlot rosé lacks verve and leans toward the single-note and boring.

One all-merlot example that I have enjoyed recently is the Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) 2016 Rosé ($23) — the first-ever rosé produced by LIMA, a group driven to educate media and consumers on the quality of merlot and merlot-based blends produced on Long Island.

To make this first rosé, member wineries Martha Clara Vineyards, Raphael, T’Jara Vineyards and Wölffer Estate Vineyard each picked one ton of Clone 3 merlot from their respective vineyards. Those grapes were taken to Raphael where winemaker Anthony Nappa made the wine (the making of the wine will rotate between the members, by the way).

Long Island Merlot Alliance 2016 Rosé

85 points

Not the most complex rosé you’ll ever find, but there is a bright purity to the strawberry fruit flavors made more interesting by subtle herb and earth notes, with great, lime-juicy acidity.

Not every wine needs to be ponderous, but it does need to be delicious. This wine is that.

Producer: Long Island Merlot Alliance
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12%
Price: $23 (available from member wineries)

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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