Roanoke Vineyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc is our ‘Wine of the Week

A bottle of Roanoke VIneyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Roanoke VIneyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

If you quickly glance at this week’s “Wine of the Week,” Roanoke Vineyards 2016 Rosé of Cabernet Franc, you might think it a white wine — it’s that light in its copper tint.

On that color, Roanoke Vineyards’ Scott Sandell told me in an email, “Visuals are important, but we didn’t shape this wine around them. It’s not dyed or otherwise altered for good looks. We don’t go there with any of the wines, and this one is just lighter in color; not a lot of skin contact: styled for taste over color.”

He’s right. It’s light on color but not on flavor.

Made with just enough cabernet franc to be labeled as such (the law requires 75%) with the balance being merlot, it bursts with notes of peach, cantaloupe, strawberry and raspberry, with just a subtle spicy earthiness. More importantly, it’s fresh with juicy acidity without that acidity overwhelming the wine’s more nuanced flavors. It’d bone dry and features a certain mid-palate weight, the result of time in oak barrels that you can feel but not taste.

You’ll read a lot of North American rosé producers talking about Provence when describing their wines. Sandell doesn’t subscribe to that thinking.

“Here we work with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay, and a Long Island rosé is just going to be different,” he said. “What you want is an elegant wine, that’s dry, sports a lively acidity, and captures some beautiful summer fruit flavors, and that’s what we have here.”

Around 400 cases were produced and this wine is currently available at the winery’s members-only tasting room in Riverhead and will be released at their public tasting room on Love Lane in Mattituck in the next couple of weeks. It sells for $20.

A second rosé, “Borrowed Light,” will be released later this year.

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