The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is, without doubt, the leading wine area in the eastern United States. While it has gained international notoriety for its Rieslings, the region also produces some outstanding red wines, perhaps most notably from the Cabernet Franc grape.
One of the best of the Cab Francs is from Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars near Seneca Lake. Seneca is the largest and deepest of the 11 Finger Lakes and is more than 600 feet in some places, which helps moderate temperatures, permitting cool-climate varieties to thrive.
Cabernet Franc, a close relative of Cabernet Sauvignon, is grown throughout the wine world but can take on special elegance, finesse, and charm in cooler regions like the Finger Lakes, the Loire Valley, and Bordeaux.
In fact, more than anything, Lamoreaux Landing’s 2016 Cabernet Franc reminded me of wines from the Loire – the Chinons, the Bourgueils, the Saumur-Champignys — with its lean and focused style. It has a little less of the “stemy” or green quality found in Loire Cab Francs, which is not a bad thing.
A bit enclosed at first, it opens up in the glass to reveal gorgeous fruit and layered complexity. The aromas and tastes suggest the sweetness and tartness of black plum, black currant, and blueberry, with touches of black licorice, cinnamon, and vanilla. Despite 18 months of oak aging, the wood influence is subtle. Alcohol is a moderate 13.4 percent.
With all that in mind, this would be a great choice for a place at the Thanksgiving table and beyond, a wine with the “weight” to withstand the onslaught of the food, and one that’s refreshing enough to provide relief from it.
At $20 or so, it also falls into the holiday wine sweet spot on price, leaving room, perhaps, for a delicious Finger Lakes Riesling beforehand.