BEDELL CELLARS – Vineyard visit

Yatta Kamara

May 16, 2013


             I choose to visit Bedell Cellars when I read that it’s a 30-year-old sustainably farmed and family owned estate vineyard and winery on the North Fork of Island; and the address is:  36225 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY  11935.  Contact number is (631)734-7537.  I also wanted to visit because, Bedell is among one of the oldest vineyards in Long Island.  The vineyard has been owned since 2000 by Michael Lynne, an esteemed art collector and film executive who produced The Lord of the Rings trilogy among many others, and the wines are made by Rich Olsen-Harbich a 30-year veteran.  Rich Olsen-Harbich also wrote the North Fork of Long Island appellation into existence in 1986.

The drive to the vineyard too at least three hours, but the views are stunning, and I absolutely loved it.  As we pulled into the long drive way into the parking lot there is a large cottage house, my sisters and I immediately walk to the tasting room.  The feel inside the tasting room is very chic wine bar feel, I immediately introduced myself to the guy who was behind the bar.  Joe was his name, he did the pouring and I asked all the questions.  Joe was extremely knowledgeable and very friendly.  He explained to us all about Bedell’s history and how they make their wines, and seem to genuinely love his job of one year.  My sister and I agree that he had a lot to do with our overall impression of the vineyard, especially when I asked how much the tasting of the wines were, he said ” it’s on the house.”

According to Joe Bedell grapevines are 30 years old, an age when they started producing  more concentrated fruit and have  deep sub-soil root systems, allowing them to grow and ripen fruit without being as affected by the localized, above-ground weather conditions.

The wines are made from grapes which they grow themselves on three vineyard sites totaling about 88 planted acres:  Bedell Home Vineyard on the Main Road in Cutchogue behind the winery and tasting room; Corey Creek Vineyards on Main Road in Southhold, next to Corey Creek tasting room; and Wells Road Vineyard on Main Road in Peconic.  All three vineyards is a holistic ecological system.   Interview with Rich Olsen-Harbich was interviewed on the 2 of June 2011, and he said when it comes to the vineyards, they try to stay away from late season fungicide applications in order to preserve the wild yeasts which are used for fermentation.  When new fields are planted, liming programs start early.  The soils are replenished twice every ten years.  Water tank are used to irrigate new vines when there’s a dry spell.  Vine spacing range from 9’ by 7’ or 8’ by 3’ for Syrah vines, and the 8’ by 4’ is average spacing.  All grapes are harvest about two tons and acre and the grapes are picked manually by hands and the yeast which is used indigenous, local from long Island.

Bedell Cellar grows a large selection of grapes, which are Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Petit Verdot Riesling Gewürztraminer, Viognier.  The wines are fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in stainless steel tanks, and a mixture of new and older French oak.

I tasted several wines, which includes 2012 First Crush Red and White – First Crush White is an aromatic, dry white blend.  It’s a blend of Chardonnay and Riesling.  Its vibrant aromas of ripe pears and honeysuckle and an incredible acidity the complements flavors of golden delicious apples, stone fruit and lemon zest.  The wine was hand-harvested, whole cluster pressed, fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in stainless steel tanks.  Tasting price range from $2, Glass $8, Bottle $20, and case $360.  I also tasted the 2011, Cabernet Franc – This is a red fruity flavor, fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in older French oak barrels and stainless steel.  On the nose I smelled spices, cloves, flowers and deep in color, like cherries.  Price from $4 – $40, and the case is $480. I then tasted the 2011, Taste White, and the 2011 Malbec, and the 2010 Taste Red.  All of Bedell Cellar wines are dry with alcohol level of 10.5% or higher.  I did not practically like the red wines, but the whites were really good.  I highly recommend Bedell Cellar it’s a must.  2011 Chardonnay was my favorite.