Though it may not ripen as consistently as merlot, I still find Long Island’s cabernet franc-based wines to be some of the most compelling. It’s especially true when the winemaker steps back and lets the fruit speak for itself rather than covering it up with excessive new oak barrels.
There is a place for smoky, vanilla-tinged red wine, of course, but Long Island’s best cabernet franc typically features far less of an oak footprint, if it has one at all.
This week’s Wine of the Week, Bedell Cellars 2016 Cabernet Franc ($45) is a beautiful example of pure Long Island cabernet franc.
Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich has been making low- and no-oak cabernet franc for many years and this 2016 is an almost pinot noir-like expression. Strawberry and red cherry aromas are accented by subtle notes of flower petals.
Aged only in old oak, which contributes texture without flavor, the palate is silky with straightforward red berry flavors that match the nose and a long, slightly earthy finish with just the smallest sprinkle of dried herbs — a reminder that this is cabernet franc, after all.
Lenn Thompson has been writing about American wine — with a focus on New York — for nearly 15 years. After running newyorkcorkreport.com for 12 years, he launched thecorkreport.us in 2016 and The Cork Report Podcast soon after. He lives in Miller Place with his wife and two children.