Long Island by the Bottle: Macari Vineyards 2019 ‘Early Wine’

Macari early wine

Photo by Lenn Thompson

Each fall—typically before Thanksgiving—Macari Vineyards offers Long Island wine lovers their first taste of the just-completed harvest with its “Early Wine,” a 100% chardonnay bottling. I’d stop short of calling this wine a cult wine, but it is absolutely a wine that its fans clamor for every year. That first peek at the new vintage is always compelling.

Why “Early Wine”? Because it’s an early wine from the vintage. You can think of it as Long Island’s Beaujolais Nouveau—except it’s delicious.

It was originally inspired by the jungwein (young wine) of Macari’s consulting winemaker Helmut Gangl’s homeland, Austria—where they are often served “heuriger” shortly after harvest.

Kelly Urbanik Koch has taken Gangl’s inspiration and made it her own since becoming Macari’s winemaker, and the 2019 might be my favorite edition of the past few.

Green apple, juicy pear, jasmine tea, lime and grapefruit aromas lead into a light-bodied, juicy palate that bursts with pear and apple flavors with just a little peachy deliciousness. There is a subtle sweetness here but the crisp, juicy acidity provides great balance. It’s that balance, which is displayed in this wine’s tension between sweetness and drying acidity, that makes it a standout.

This isn’t a wine to ponder over the course of an evening. It’s fruity, straightforward and absolutely delicious—on its own as an aperitif, with cheese and charcuterie, or even with Asian fare. Don’t look for layers upon layers of nuanced flavors. Drink it and enjoy it with friends and food. You should buy at least half a case—it’s way too easy to drink. And quickly.