Wagner_07meritage By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

Most of the time, the best Finger Lakes Meritage-style blends are heavy on cabernet franc which, despite some winemakers who feel otherwise, is the Bordeaux red that seems to show the most promise in the region.

As such, I find many of these wines pleasing and enjoyable — being the cabernet franc fanatic that I am.

Wagner Vineyards 2007 Meritage ($23) is made using 55% cabernet franc, 35% cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot — and a bit too much oak for my tastes.

It's a shame too. The nose is lively with inviting red cherry, cranberry and subtle floral qualities that are hidden behind the strong aroma of vanilla extract. There is also a whiff of dustiness that I often associate with Finger Lakes cabernet franc.

The oak on the palate comes across primary as vanilla as well, disrupting a lively palate that shows just-juicy acidity with ripe red berries, hints of spice and chocolate and a medium-long finish.

Producer: Wagner Vineyards
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12.4%
Cases: 900
Price: $23*
Rating: 85