Paumanok Vineyards 2014 "Assemblage" Red Blend

92 points

A blend of 50% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot (Paumanok doesn’t grow any malbec), this wine is still quite young and fresh with a pure beam of blackberry and plum fruit accented by notes of spice and just a little vanilla. It’s fuller bodied, but lithe with nice acidity and well-integrated tannins.

I recommend decanting it for at least an hour, or at least letting it sit in your glass over the course of an evening. It tastes its best on the third day open.

Enjoy it with a meal. Beef or lamb should work well almost no matter the preparation.

You’ll find a lot of “Bordeaux blends” on the North Fork. Most wineries produce them and as with any other category of wine from any region, there are the good examples, mediocre examples and, yes,  bad examples — although there are far fewer of those these days.

You’ll also find a wide variation in the grapes that go into these wines. Merlot is often the bulk of the blend (there’s more Merlot here than any other red grape), but the proportion of Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot can vary greatly. Some will use all five grapes. Others only a couple.

Wine is made in the vineyard, as the saying goes, but blends are made in the cellar.These wines really show off the talent of the winemaker. By combining a handful of varieties together, winemakers can adjust aromas, flavors, structure, and freshness with balanced complexity being the goal.

This Paumanok Vineyards 2014 Assemblage ($50) — hits the mark expertly.

Producer: Paumanok Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $50

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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