Southold Farm + Cellar and co-owner/winemaker Regan Meador has earned a reputation for doing weird or unexpected things. Regan and his wife, Carey, grow Teroldego, Lagrein and Goldmuskateller at their estate vineyard. Regan has made three different sparkling red wines. He’s also made a couple different pet nats. These all all outside of what is considered traditional or normal here in Long Island Wine Country.
I like all of those wines. Even love some of them, but I’m more keen on his work with one of the stalwarts of Long Island wine: cabernet franc.
The Meadors don’t grow any cabernet franc themselves.
Instead, they have purchased fruit from both The Farrm in Calverton and Osprey’s Dominion in Peconic. Because the couple is selling their property and moving the entire operation to Texas, they won’t be buying fruit in 2016 — so our wine of the week, Southold Farm + Cellar 2015 “Love Habit” Cabernet Franc ($32), is the last of its kind — a Meador-made cabernet franc using grapes grown by Rex Farr.
And it’s a fascinating exploration of terroir when you compare it to its older sibling, the 2014 “Flying and Falling” Cabernet Franc, also grown at The Farrm.
The 2015 is brighter and fresher — and not just because it’s younger. Regan describes it as more “high-toned” and I think he’s right. It’s less brooding and a bit more forward — while still having ripe fruit character and a certain lithe concentration and depth.
The change was by design.
“We kept pushing the envelope on picking early trying to see how much more tension we could capture,” Regan told me in an email, adding: “I’m really curious in the similarities between them because that starts to tell you more about the place than anything, which is the ultimate goal, I believe, of winemaking.”
The tasting room has been closed for some time, but you can still order this wine on the Meadors’ website (http://www.southoldfarmandcellar.com/) until the end of October. After that, you’ll have to wait until they set up shop in Texas, which they hope will be by summer 2017.