There can no longer be any doubt that Long Island Wine has come of age, as Bedell Cellars
2009 Merlot has been chosen for President Obama's 2013 Inaugural Luncheon.
This is the first time a Long Island wine has been chosen for any official Presidential Inauguration ceremony and it is a testament to the continued reputation and maturity of the viticulture industry of the East End in general, and the North Fork in particular. Although table grapes have been grown on the North Shore since the 17th Century, the first varietals for wine making were planted by Alex and Louisa Hargrave at their eponymously named vineyard in 1973. The now officially designated wine region has grown to over 50 vineyards with tasting rooms that are the centerpieces, along with farms, farm stands, field-to-table restaurants, hotels and B&Bs that make up the East End's very tourist popular and friendly agritainment industry.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer
, as Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, was instrumental in bringing Bedell's 2009 Merlot to the table. It will be paired with the luncheon's main course of Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction. Among other New York agricultural products included in the afternoon's fare is a Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region that will be paired with the Steamed Lobster New England Chowder appetizer.
Bedell Cellars Winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich. (Photo: Courtesy of Bedell Cellars)
Located in Cutchogue and one of the East End's earliest established vineyards, Bedell Cellars has been making wine on the North Fork for 30 years and their selections are among the most award winning in the region, along with a tasting room that Wine Enthusiast Magazine
named, "One of the top 25 tasting rooms in America."
Bedell Winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich described the 2009 Merlot to Hamptons.com as, "A classic North Fork style Merlot, which means it is fairly savory with a moderate level of alcohol and some red fruit character. The thing about North Fork wines is that they are not like West Coast wines; they are more like what you would find in the Old World. They are going to be a little more elegant, they are going to have less alcohol, and they are going to have a little more acidity and a little more aroma. They are not going to knock your socks off with extracted color and alcohol. They are real food wines! We do have a unique character on the North Fork, which is a saline minerality, as we get some effect of being close to the sea that shows through the wine."
When asked how it feels to have one of his wines selected for the Presidential Inauguration, he answered, "It puts a huge seal of approval from the Leader of the Free World on the product we are creating. It also makes it cool to drink Merlot again, because you have one of the coolest cats on the planet dinking it. It is great for Bedell, great for the region and great for the future of the Long Island wine industry. "
World leaders, international dignitaries, members of Congress and the Cabinet will be in attendance at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon tasting, perhaps for the first time, a wine from the Long Island Wine Region. Bedell Cellars 2009 Merlot, a North Fork standout featured at the Free World's ultimate power lunch!
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