Cabernet Franc is one of the major red varietals of the world and the parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is medium bodied with medium to high acidity and in its historical home, France, it is one of the grapes used in the classic Bordeaux blend and the primary red grape in the Loire region. It’s also a major grape varietal in both the Finger Lakes and Long Island wine regions of New York State.
Out in the Long Island wine region, the early (than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) ripening grape was thought to be a perfect fit for the cooler climate on the North Fork. It hasn’t dethroned Merlot as the primary grape varietal but most wineries grow it either for blending or bottling on its own.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon I took a drive to wine country to sample a few.
Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room 165 Love Lane, Mattituck
This is their satellite tasting room as the tasting room at the winery is now members only. On a two block long commercial area with a cheese shop next door and an Italian deli across the street.
2016 Cabernet Franc: “The Twelve Rows”: 98% Cabernet Franc from the site specific Twelve Rows block. Cloudy medium purple with a purple rim, camphor, crushed red fruit, licorice and dark chocolate on the nose, bright dark fruit with raspberry notes on the crisp finish.
Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue
A family owned operation with vines planted in 1980 using sustainable farming and “artistic blending”.
2017 Cabernet Franc: From estate grown grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts, opaque black with a purple rim, cooked berries, raspberry and mike chocolate on the nose, bright red fruit with firm acidity, I thought the finish dropped a bit at the end.
Paumanok Vineyards 1074 Main Road, Aquabogue
Founded in 1983 and entirely owned and managed by Ursula and Charles Massoud, the tasting room is in a turn of the century renovated barn.
2016 Cabernet Franc: 100% Cabernet Franc, opaque dark red, purple rim, slate, crushed rocks and wet dirt on the nose, bright red cherry fruit with wet earth notes on the fruit, low tannin, firm acidity, on the light side.