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McCall Merlot 2008

The Experience

Drink When...
When you care about the land
Listen To...
Land of Sunshine by Faith No More
Think About...
We gotta look after this place!
Drink With...
Beef Bourguignon with minted new potatoes

The Oddbins Take

Russ McCall doesn’t just make wine. That’s his main job sure and he produces amazing stuff, such as this silky, finely composed, peppery and black plum-flavoured Merlot, but that’s not all. He refuses to let the, er, brutes win, shall we say. He gave half of his estate over to the Peconic Bay Land Trust to protect it from development and has a herd of Charolais Beef cattle on his land. He is also a Francophile and ardent cheese-lover, having once owned a cheese shop in the ‘cheese desert’ of Atlanta. He goes STRAIGHT to the top of our dinner party dream guests.

The Vital Statistics

Long Island, New York State
Bottle Size
Regular - 750ml
Alcohol Units

Out of stock



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The Style

Merlot (100%)
Light Full bodied
Dry Sweet

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  • McCall Merlot
McCall Merlot

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In 1996 Russ McCall inherited 100 acres of land and set about transforming his dream of owning a winery into reality. He donated half the land to the Peconic Bay Land Trust to ensure the area remained undeveloped, as it was the site where the original Native American tribe, Cutchogue, set up camp. Having been a keen Francophile since travelling to Bordeaux and Burgundy with his Atlanta-based wine importer, he was determined to specialise in growing just Merlot and Pinot Noir. He asked Southold grower and original Long Island consultant Stephen Mudd to help research what Pinot Noir clones would work best in Long Island. After a few trips to Oregon, Mudd planted 11 acres with four clones of Pinot and 10 of Merlot. Until 2007 the grapes were sold off to others, but only in 2007 was the first vintage produced.

Russ McCall is passionate about producing the best wine from his vineyards in both Pinot Noir and Merlot. He has a herd of Charolais Beef cattle and the old farm tools on the Barn Cellar Door reflects the farming history of the region.

After Russ McCall attended college in Atlanta, Georgia, he stayed and started a small cheese shop. He persevered through the southern ‘cheese desert’ and changed his business to wholesale supplying restaurants and hotels. Soon after he expanded to wine and spent many years travelling particularly in Burgundy and Bordeaux, when awareness was beginning in America of the ‘slow food’ movement.

Talented French winemaker Gilles Martin made this wine using the facilities at the Premium Wine Group, allowing the grapes to ripen to full maturity before picking by hand and hand-sorting. The wine remained for 14 months in a mix of 25% new oak barriques and 25% old. Only 350 cases were made.

This is a rich, pleasing Merlot, full and rounded, with silky tannins. It has rich, spiced berries and white pepper on the nose, whilst on the palate is has deliciously silky tannins, overlaid with rich black plums. It is a rounded, balanced wine, with well-integrated oak.

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