Ripe Merlot grapes hang on the vine at Bedell Cellars...

Ripe Merlot grapes hang on the vine at Bedell Cellars Vineyard in Cutchogue. (Oct. 2, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

The North Fork’s Bedell Cellars 2009 Merlot is one of three wines to be served at the luncheon following the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21.

“It’s a rare honor, for sure,” said Trent Preszler, CEO of the Cutchogue-based winery. Since 1897, he said, when Congress hosted its first inaugural luncheon for the president and vice president, the wines served have been either from France or, increasingly, California. (The one exception: at Bill Clinton’s second inauguration in 1997, a Virginia chardonnay was poured.)

Bedell was among many wineries that sent wines for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to consider. Preszler said that he sent a number of different bottles but was not surprised that the 2009 merlot was selected. “Merlot has put Long Island on the map,” he said, and it’s a grape that has worked really well for us. The 2009 vintage resulted in some of the most elegant red wines we’ve ever made.”

New York Senator Charles Schumer is chairman of the inaugural committee, and he has seen to it that the whole meal is dominated by wines from the Empire State.

The Bedell merlot will be served with the luncheon’s second course (hickory-grilled bison) but the first course (steamed lobster with New England chowder) will be accompanied by Tierce 2010 Dry Riesling, a collaboration from three Finger Lakes wineries: Anthony Road Winery, Fox Run Vineyards and Red Newt Cellars.

Dessert will feature an apple pie made with Hudson Valley apples, cheese from Otsego and honey from Rochester. In what appears to be a concession to interstate harmony, it will be accompanied by Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne from California.

Care to drink along with the luncheon? Bedell still has a good amount of the 2009 merlot, which retails for $30, available for shipping anywhere in the United States. Contact the winery at 631-734-7537. Click here for more information on the Inaugural luncheon.

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