A One Night Stand With Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc

The other day, I was invited to join Lenn Thompson from the New York Cork Report, Henry Powderly II, from a work in Progress and Garry Madden, Genaral Manager of Lieb Family Cellars for a Twitter Taste Live event that focused on wines of the Finger Lake Region of New York. The kickoff wine was my favorite varietal, Cabernet Franc. We were joined via twitter with bloggers and wine geeks from Boston to the Finger Lakes, to Florida to California and back again to Long Island.

Thanks Passionate Foodie for the Picture

The event began promptly at 8PM with our host Lenn Thompson at Lieb Family Cellars. He promptly poured us our first wine of the night, Fox Run Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc/Lemberger. There was a bit more of the Lemberger in the bottle than the Franc, but none the less there was some Franc Qualities there. On the nose I was picking up a lot of Cherry and Cola. It was giving way to some great fruity berry aromas. There was some Raspberry and Black berry and blueberry in the glass. I could have dove right into this glass. The taste on the other hand was a bit of an issue. It was laden with puckering acidity. IT was overwhelming the wine, and made it difficult to pick up much, other than some very tart cherry. This was my first experience with Lemberger of any kind and due to the bouquet of this wine; I would love to try it alone as the varietal. As the time move on, the longer in the glass the acid was diminishing. I was getting the craving for a black & blue rib eye while tasting this wine. On the final sips I was picking up some plum, violets and strong blackberry notes. Later that night, while revisiting the wines, I was picking up some black pepper spice notes.

We then moved onto Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc. On the nose I was picking up some dried fruit. Some prune notes along with this intriguing and enticing barnyard note. It was quite funky. There may have been some old cheese rind in there as well. As I swirled the wine in my glass, the funk was at the back of the glass, faint yet distinct. The funk did leave the glass after awhile, and was enjoying the dried prune and dark fruit notes on the nose. There was a spicy note to the wine, that at first I had a hard time putting my finger on.  After some banter back and forth, between clove and other spice, it was pointed out by another tweeter, cardamom.  And I agreed.  But clove was still the common feeling in the tasting room.  At the end of the night when we retasted it, Henry got it right with clove, but really put it together when he said there was some sweet clove in there, reminiscent of a clove cigarette at the end.  There was and at the end, it was nice.

We then moved onto the Rooster Hill Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc.   This was very smoky.  There was some bacon, some berries, cherry and some fresh green mint.  There was a subtle note of eucalyptus at the end, but I kept returning to the smoky bacon.  I did not mind it, because it was not to overpowering, it did diminish over time.  On the palate, I was picking up some more of the bacon, with a hint of black tea.  It was enjoyable, but too much smoke was my problem with the wine, but I was impressed to this point with the quality of wine from the Finger Lake Region.

Then, my whole world changed, I made my reservations for TasteCamp 2010 right after I put my nose into the glass with Red Newt Wine Cellars 2007 “Sawmill Creek” Cabernet Franc, in it.  This Franc was fantastic!  Now, I may have wanted to dive into the Fox Run wine, but this I could have done laps in the glass.  Some fellow tweeters were nice enough to offer to throw me a life preserver.  One blogger, Richard over at The Passionate Foodie states that it, “brings back memories of Shinn (Estate Vineyards) Cabernet Franc (2007).”  I whole hardly agreed.  There were elements of eucalyptus, and fresh turned earth, some black cherry and raspberry and blackberries.  There was some exotic spice in the glass.  The taste was even better.  All of the fruit was up front with a wonderful exotic spice.  The wine was in perfect balance and harmony.   I could drink this for hours among friends or some duck breast for dinner would be perfect.  This wine was the best of the night in my opinion.  It had everything you look for in a Cabernet Franc, and then some.

The winning wine that night was, Red Newt Wine Cellars 2007 “Sawmill Creek” Cabernet Franc.  It was also the most expensive of the night at $39.00.  The runner up was Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc, which is retailing at $22.00 probably would offer you the best value, while offering you decent quality.  Fox Run Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc/Lemberger took the bronze medal, despite the fact that this was more Lemberger than Cabernet Franc in the bottle.  It is not released yet and the 2006 vintage is selling for $15.  This could be my new everyday table wine though.  And last on the list was the Rooster Hill Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc.  This too is not released yet, but, will sell for about $20.00.  It was a nice wine, I just could not get past the smoky bacon.

Henry, Gary, Lenn and I finished off the night at Lieb Family Cellars with a tasting of Bridge Land 2006 Cabernet Franc and a sampling of the recently released 2007 Syrah, named after Garry’s late winery dog Syrah, where 20% of the proceeds of this wine will be donated to The Animal Medical Center in New York City.

But I really enjoyed this night was a sparkling wine from Lieb, their 2005 Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine.  It goes for $35.00 and as I sat that night, I could drink this everyday.  So it goes to show you I truly do have Champagne Taste on a beer budget.

Many thanks to Finger Lakes Wine Country for getting these great Cabernet Franc’s out to us.  To Lenn Thompson for moderating this Twitter Taste Live Event, to Gary at Lieb Family Cellars for allowing us to stand around and use the tasting room for the night. And a big thanks to those who participated across the country, hopefully on the next one there will be more of us and more of you on Twitter Taste Live, rumor has it that the wines will be available for purchase…Keep your eyes glued to this blog for more information.

Oh, and yes, I promise not to leave Long Island too often.

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About Michael Gorton, Jr.

I am a Licensed Funeral Director who is having a love affair with Long Island Wine and the people that make Long Island wine so special. I am married to my wife Melissa and live in Rocky Point. Our first son Gabriel Noel was born on July 27, 2010. We have three cats and one dog.
This entry was posted in Cabernet Franc, Finger Lake Region, Twitter Taste Live. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A One Night Stand With Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc

  1. We are very appreciative of the time you took to taste these wines. It is nice when wine lovers, bloggers and journalists realize that the Finger Lakes is a red wine region too. See you at TasteCamp.

    • Michael Gorton, Jr. says:

      Morgan,
      This was a learning experience for me. I truly enjoyed the Cabernet Franc, though I am already a huge fan of the varietal.
      It was a great representation of what Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc is all about. If this is a sample of what the Finger Lakes can do with reds, then they have a new fan.
      I cannot wait till TasteCamp 2010 up in the FLX.
      Looking foward to the February Taste LIve event too!

  2. Great reviews! Really enjoying Finger Lakes wines and am thankful for your thoughts on 4 wines I’ve yet to try.

  3. Pingback: Get In On Some Finger Lakes Bubbly with Taste Live « Undertaking Wine

  4. Pingback: Tasting Stars « Undertaking Wine

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