By Lenn Thompson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

In the hotter, riper years, one of my favorite local cabernet francs almost always comes from Raphael, where winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich eschews oak completely with his franc.

Of course without oak, the fruit is forced to stand alone. You can't cover up underripe fruit. Without oak, you can taste the season — good or bad.

I found the 2006 vintage of this wine, from that cool, rainy growing season, thin and underwhelming. Not so with this Raphael 2007 Cabernet Franc ($16), made from fruit grown during what might be the best one ever for cabernet franc. 

Black plum and blackberries burst from the nose with layers of earth and dried herbs. 

It's medium bodied, but crisp acidity heightens the flavors – a delicious core of crunchy plum and cherry flavors here with subtle herbal and spice notes and hints of mushroom that will likely emerge more with bottle aging. 

Look out for these 2007 Long Island cabernet francs. I haven't had one let me down yet. You can believe the hype. At least so far.

Producer: Raphael
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $16
Rating: 30
(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 

(Ratings Guide