Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In the Glass: 2005 Christian’s Cuvee, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Long Island, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller tasting Christian's Cuvee at the Woelffer Estate

2005 Christian’s Cuvee, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Long Island, USA

This wine—Christian’s Cuvee—is to remember the great entrepreneur Christian Woelffer, the founder of the Woelffer winery on Long Island, New York State. Christian Woelffer died last year, shortly after New Year, in a sport accident at the age of 70 on vacation in Brazil.

I had the wine with my wife at this wonderful winery in the Hamptons on Long Island. We were on our way back from Concord, New Hampshire, to McLean, Virginia. The rustic, Tuscan-style winery is set on a rise overlooking the vineyards to the east and the gently rolling Hamptons landscape to the west. This is one of the few Long Island wineries that is located in the Hamptons, while most Long Island wineries are cluttered on the North Fork.

The wine: dark red in the glass; attack of Cassis, with some vanilla notes; big mouth-feel, with a lot of tannins; lasting finish with fine acidity.

Here are the notes of winemaker Roman Roth: After an incredibly favorable growing season, we hand-picked the grapes on October 17th and 18th. Following the careful sorting process on a sorting-table, the lots were separated to ferment the Merlot grapes in a 6000 Liter upright French oak tank. All other lots fermented in 1 Ton Bins. The Merlot fermented at a peak temperature of 86°, with a total maceration of 22 days. The Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon fermented at 84°, with a total maceration of 10 days and 17 days respectively. The pump-overs and the punch-downs were done meticulously every 8 hours during the peak of fermentation. The wine was gently pressed, and the press fraction > 1.1 Bar was separated. After 4 days it went straight into 100% new oak French Barriques. Malolactic fermentation finished 100%. The wine spent 21 months in oak and was gently racked a total 5 times. Bottling was done on July 12th, 2007 resulting in 2070 750 ml bottles, 90 1.5 Liter bottles and 12 3.0 Liter bottles.

83% Merlot from our oldest Merlot vines planted in 1990 with a yield of 1.6 tons/acre; 14.5% Cabernet Sauvignon Roanoke Vineyards planted in 2000 with a yield of 1.3 tons/acre; 2.5% Cabernet Franc planted in 2000 with a yield of 1.7 tons/acre; Brix at Harvest 22.6, Alcohol 13%, Titratable acidity 5.6 g/L, pH 3.55

In little over a quarter of a century the Long Island wine industry has grown from one small vineyard to 3,000 acres of vines and over thirty wineries producing outstanding wines. Located in New York State, on the East Coast of the United States, Long Island extends some 120 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Its maritime climate, geography and soil characteristics provide ideal conditions for producing wines of exceptional quality.

Christian's Cuvee is not cheap. It costs $ 100 ex-winery.


  1. I haven't had the pleasure yet, but I love visiting Wolffer when I am out east visiting family!

  2. Gretchen,

    I am looking forward to read about it on your blog vino verve.