By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

Bedell_09franc Bedell Cellars' red wine program focuses mainly on blends — First Crush Red, Taste Red and Musee — and two consistently good merlots.

But, as anyone who knows him will tell you, winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich is a cabernet franc lover. And while he didn't make this Bedell Cellars 2009 Cabernet Franc ($30) start-to-finish, he did finish and bottle it.

When Olsen-Harbich took over in June, he wasn't sure what the previous winemaker had in mind for this wine. "All I could do was drive it in the direction I felt it should go," he said in an email "In this case I racked the wine out of oak shortly after I arrived and allowed the wine to remain in stainless until bottling in August.

As he often does — especially with his reds — Olsen-Harbich bottled it at very low sulfur levels and with minimal filtration.

Black fruits dominate the nose, mostly black plum and black cherry, with sweet herbs, spice and a distinct brown sugar-molasses note.

The palate is medium bodied with a core of ripe, sweet black fruits with layers of herbs, plum skin and vanilla oak. Well-integrated ripe tannins and subtle acidity frame those flavors without being overly grippy.

The brown sugar notes from the nose peek back in at the end of a long finish — along with just a bit of oak.

Producer: Bedell Cellars
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $30*
Rating: 88

(*Ratings Guide)