Nappa. Macari. Pellegrini. Pugliese. Borghese. Diliberto. These are the Italian and Italian-American names that help define Long Island wine. These are also well-established brands, but there’s at least one more you may not be familiar with — Medolla.
Medolla Vineyards, owned by John and Denise Medolla, launched in 2007 with a 2002 Merlot. Medolla Vineyards operates under a tenant winery license at Lenz Winery. Basically, Lenz Winery serves as a host winery and Medolla uses the facilities when Lenz isn’t using them. Lenz winemaker Eric Fry also serves as the consultant winemaker.
Both John and Denise work in the aviation industry, but their family has winemaking roots that can be traced to the base of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius. John’s grandparents were winemakers from the nearby town of Torre Del Greco. “My family used the Piedi Rosso (“red foot”) grape and as legend has it, the Moscato grape as well,” he said.
The Medollas don’t own a vineyard, so they purchase fruit and the grapes used in this Medolla Vineyards 2010 Merlot ($30) were grown by veteran grower Sam McCullough, who also serves as Lenz’s vineyard manager.
Producer: Medolla Vineyards
Region: North Fork of Long Island AVA
Vineyard: McCullough Vineyard
* Review sample provided by the winery