Winemaking is a craft based on the skilled lore of centuries, which also makes use of scientific progress. Winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich brings over 25 years of experience in Long Island wine production. Consulting Enologist Paul Pontallier of the famed Chateau Margaux, provides guidance and support in the creation and blending of all our wines – from vineyard to bottle.
Raphael wines receive meticulous attention from the earliest growth of the vine to the maturing of the wine in the bottle. They are made with faithfulness to traditional techniques such as hand harvesting and sorting, the pumping over of the must, the use of gravity for transfer, and the use of small, French oak cooperage. The greatest of care is given to the wines at each stage of their development in the cellar. The art of the winemaker lies in tasting and analyzing the various components involved, allowing the terroir to be purely expressed through gentle guidance. The final result is a combination of art, science, technology, and magic, which transforms a gift of nature, with skill and dedication, into a work of art and a source of pleasure for many years to come.
The greatest of the Raphael wines, only the ripest, most concentrated grapes of the vintage go into the production of the Merlot. It is produced only in years where the grapes achieve optimum ripeness. Every cluster is individually selected by hand and inspected over our sorting table before being added to the fermenting vats.
We declassified the 2003 so that no First Label or La Fontana were produced in this year. Instead, we have blended our best Estate Merlot ever, combining lots from older vines and our finest vineyard areas that in the past were slated for First Label only. The result is what we believe to be Long Island's best value in the price category.
The Raphael La Fontana is produced from a selection of grapes harvested from young vines or from lots that fall one small step short of qualifying for inclusion in our First Label Merlot. Our La Fontana is a blended wine, produced predominantly from Merlot and Cabernet Franc, highlighted with small amounts of Malbec and Petit Verdot. A portion of the wine is typically kept in stainless steel to retain some fresh fruity elements.
Our Bel Rosso is a delightful, fruity red wine that is lighter in body than our other reds. Produced in the traditional style of the Loire Valley, this wine is fermented cool and kept entirely in stainless steel. This technique preserves the lively, fresh fruit flavors of cherry, violets and red fruit dominate making our Bel Rosso an elegant red wine capable of complimenting any cuisine.
A true rosé wine made in the tradition of Provence utilizing the centuries-old techingue of saignée - translated from French meaning "to bleed." During the initial crushing of the grapes, a small amount of juice is "bled" from the vats in order to concentrate the remaining must. The juice is then fermented very cold and kept in stainless steel tanks until bottling. The result is a beautiful rosé that is dry, fruity, low in alcohol and food-friendly. The perfect summertime wine for the picnic or the beach. Made from 100% Merlot.
In keeping with the chateau tradition, Raphael produces a small quantity of white wine. Handpicked, ripe Sauvignon Blanc grapes are pressed in our wooden basket press, then fermented entirely in stainless steel at very cold temperatures in order to capture the essence of the fresh fruit. The result is a wine driven by intense floral and herbal elements and natural acidity - the basis of the Long Island style for this variety. Fruit flavors evident include pink grapefruit, gooseberries, kiwis and lime. The perfect accompaniment to scallops, mussels, shrimp and other local seafood.