Macari’s Early Wine Chardonnay Pleases

Its release was just before Thanksgiving, so I’m a bit behind on this—but I’m over Beaujolais nouveau. I have no use for it. I love Cru Beaujolais, particularly Morgon and Fleurie, but I think nouveau is just a waste of your money.

It’s mostly about the spectacle (and the marketing) and the wines often disappoint. I’d rather wait until Cru stuff is released (or just drink 2010s—which are killer).

But when it comes to local nouveau wines (there are a few), I always look forward to Macari Vineyards’ “Early Wine” chardonnay, even if it varies (sometimes wildly) from year to year.

Inspired by the jungwein (young wine) of consulting winemaker Helmut Gangl’s homeland (Austria)—they are often served in heuriger, which are sort of like wine bar-cafeteria hybrids, shortly after harvest.

The chardonnay grapes that went into Macari’s latest edition of “Early Wine” were harvested on August 29, and the wine was bottled less than two months later on October 22.

After a couple editions that I liked but didn’t love, the Macari Vineyards 2012 “Early Wine” Chardonnay ($17) is my favorite edition since the 2009.

The nose is fresh and playful with an interplay between green apple, Bartlett pear and apple blossom aromas backed by subtle lemon-lime citrus zest notes.

That distinct apple-pear-blossom character carries over to the medium-light bodied palate, which is similarly fresh, juicy and delivers the sort of tension between acidity and residual sugar that often defines good riesling. Ultimately, it finishes nearly dry and lingers with notes of flowers and green apple skin.

Straightforward, charming and delicious—this is a wine I’d be happy to drink regularly, particularly with food (poultry and pork for sure).

Noted importer Terry Theise has written about how not every wine needs to be a life event and “the best” of anything. He’d argue that sometimes we need wine to serve merely as a companion over the course of an evening. This is one such wine. I found myself reaching for the bottle again and again throughout the evening, well after all my tasting was done.

If you stop in at Macari Vineyards to taste this wine, you might as well taste the Macari Vineyards 2005 Reserve Merlot ($36). Few local wineries allow wines to mature this long before release—but Macari’s patience means you don’t have to have the self-control to age the wine yourself. The prolonged cellaring makes for an earthy, nuanced wine—a true standout.

To explore the results of the recent 2012 harvest beyond Macari’s Early Wine, head over to Paumanok Vineyards where winemaker Kareem Massoud has bottled three wines—2012 Chenin Blanc, 2012 Festival Chardonnay and 2012 Vin Rose—to capture their freshness. All three are available now.


Macari Vineyards, 150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck, 631–298–0100 and 24385 Route 25, Cutchogue, 631–734–7070.

Paumanok Vineyards, 1074 Route 25, Aquebogue, 631–722–8800.

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