By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Benmarl_08cabfrancThis Benmarl Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc ($20) is yet another bit of ammo in the argument for cabernet franc as New York State's most consistently, and widely, successful red variety.

I've tasted several good (or even very good) cabernet franc-based wines from Hudson Valley wineries, but more often than not, they are made using fruit grown either on Long Island or in the Finger Lakes.

That's not the case with this wine, which is made 100% with estate-grown fruit.

The nose opens with earthy dried leaves and dried spices, with a light spice component and understated black cherry aromas.

The fruit is understated on the medium-light bodied palate too, with earthy-herbal flavors up front along with a subtle-spice component and cherry taking a step back.

The tannins are light and a little dusty on the mouthfeel, and the acid is nicely balanced. There is a cured meat note on the finish that I found interesting as well.

A bit more fruit would elevate this wine, but it's a cab franc lover's kind of wine. It's possible that those flavors will develop and open up with more time in bottle. This is a 2008 after all. The first bottled 2008 I've tasted in fact.

Producer: Benmarl Winery
AVA: Hudson River Region
Brix at harvest: 21.2
pH: 3.76
TA: 6.1 g/l
Oak Program: 11 months in 2-4 year old French and American Oak
ABV: 12.9%

Price: $20*

Cases Produced: 115 cases
Rating:  25
(2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Very Good)

(Ratings Guide)