2013 Cabernet Franc

What do they say about Finger Lakes red wine?

Too often, we hear that red grapes are simply not suitable for the region. Sometimes, the naysayers will admit that red wine can be made, but only in those rarely-seen warm years.

Yet, if this is true, why were so many good Cabernet Franc wines made in 2013, a rainy cool growing season?

There is no doubt that 2012 (a very warm vintage) was a fine year for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  These grapes obviously ate up those hot sunny days. The quality of the 2012 wines is a reflection of the happiness of the grapevines.

Cabernet Franc, however, seems to prefer somewhat cooler weather.  It was not an unqualified success in 2012.  Certainly, many wines were very fruity and concentrated, but a good number were marked by bitter tannin or raisin-y fruit. Even the better wines could be chunky, lacking elegance.

The Cabernet Franc wines of 2013 are quite often fresher and more elegant than the 2012s. Relatively few seem spoiled by bitter tannin or lumbering overripe fruit. They are not wines to keep, however. Soft and elegant, these bottles are best consumed now.

The best wines of the vintage (to date) are the Ravines and the Billsboro.  Both are fresh, full of flavor, complex, soft & elegant, and fine with food.

Low-priced wines to look for are the Lamoreaux Landing and Bellangelo.

Expect additional wines in this report in July and August.

A word about these tastings: Each tasting note is based on a full bottle of wine (no tasting room notes or group tastings), sampled over a two-day period, most often with food.  All bottles are purchased from the winery or a wine shop. I do not accept “sample” bottles from wineries, nor do I have a financial relationship of any kind with any winery or the wine industry.  The views expressed here are my own, and I strive to be as honest and objective as a person can be.

© Douglas Hillstrom 2014