Long Island by the Bottle: Bedell Cellars 2018 Rosé

bedell rosé

Photo by Lenn Thompson

Welcome to Long Island by the Bottle. Every week, we’ll showcase a wine that we’re enjoying and think you’ll dig too—with some of the story behind the wine and food pairing suggestions, too. 

Bedell Cellars winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich has been making wine almost from the beginning of the Long Island wine industry. As such, he’s made rosé in a variety of styles and through a variety of techniques. What does he shoot for now when he’s making rosé? 

“At its best, Long Island rosé is at just as much at home on the beach as it is on the dining room table. It’s clean and refreshing with aromas of strawberry, fresh-cut watermelon, wet stone and rose petal with a distinctive, salty minerality on the palate,” he says. “It should be crisp yet have enough extract to remain balanced, giving it the ability to really pair with just about anything. That’s really the beauty of rosé—there are no pairing rules.”

Read more from wine writer Lenn Thompson in our archives here.

His 2018 rosé is a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon—three red wine grapes that are stalwarts of the local wine industry. 

It’s super fresh on the nose, with notes of red berries, passionfruit and just a little savory dried herb (from that Cab Franc, no doubt). The fruit is a bit more tropical on a juicy, balanced palate that lingers nicely on the finish. 

Rosé has never been more popular locally or in the greater wine world—which is good in challenging grey-and-wet vintages like 2018. It wasn’t a great one for red wine, but according to Olsen-Harbich quite good for rosé.

“Many (vineyard) blocks came in with lower than average sugar levels at maturity. This gave us ripe flavors and aromas with lower alcohol levels which I feel is very important for making a great rosé,” he says.

As local rose prices creep up, it’s also great to see this wine selling for $18 at the winery’s tasting room.