Damiani Wine Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Posted February 17, 2014 by Lenn Thompson in Regions


Damiani Wine Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($45) — proved me wrong. I can admit it.  I have to.

Finger Lakes pinot noir — and to a lesser extent Blaufrankisch — have been coming on strong in recent years. But cabernet sauvignon? I’ve been less then enthusiastic after tasting seeral.

Maybe cabernet can only get here in one or two out of ten years, but this wine is a new benchmark for the variety in the Finger Lakes.

Its concentrated, brooding nose offers aromas of blueberry, currant and plum with a savory/umami edge and an integrated dose of oak and herbs in the back background.

Mouth-filling but still wiry and lithe, the palate shows similar concentration at its core — currant, blueberry, fig and plum — with a toasty edge. Youthful, well-integrated tannins provide ample structure without overwhelming the wine.

A long, fruity finish — with an herbal edge — stretches out and gets even a bit more complex on day two.

Producer: Damiani Wine Cellars
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 13.9%
Production: 145 cases
Price: $45*

 (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)



    $45… Give me New York Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Merlot all day, but at that price point, I’m going Napa or Bordeaux.

      Ryan Love


      There’s no doubt that the Reserve is better, but the non-reserve isn’t all that far behind it, and comes at a more wallet-friendly price point of around $25. I’d recommend it. Both are as good as any cab sauv you’ll drink from the FLX.


    I’m sold, Ryan. Going to head over to the site now and pick up a few bottles of each. Is the Damiani Cab Sauv fairly consistent?


    I believe this wine got a 91 in Wine Spectator, the highest for an FLX Red yet. Can’t really afford this version, but I’m thinking about buying the non-reserve when I have some cash.

    Antoinette Di Ciaccio

    Brian, I am just curious. Why would you pay that price for a Napa or Bordeaux wine and not for an “other 46″ region? You haven’t even tasted it to say whether YOU think it is worth it.

    Your blog does a great job of highlighting the lesser known regions and you attempt to highlight those wines/wineries that are producing “world class” quality. Why wouldn’t you pay the price and in turn, help a region like the Finger Lakes and an excellent producer like Damiani Wine Cellars “grow?” California has its share of world support. The Other 46 need it too. Having said that, its important to support the wine/region/producer who is actually consistently attaining a high quality, not just support local to support local (or for you, lesser known regions).

    Again, just curious.

    I look forward to your thoughtful response.

    Bruce Stevens

    Have enjoyed many of the reds from Damiani for quite a few years. Have not had the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve yet. But will now make a point of tasting it when I visit the winery in May.

    Kristina Rose

    What a wonderful review of a wine that I love so dearly.

    Damiani consistently strives to grow and produce some of the best red varieties throughout the region. With its strategic placement along the “banana belt” on Seneca Lake, and the intense determination inherent in both winemaker and grape-grower, quality is always the first and foremost priority in the winery’s philosophy.

    Brian, I’m happy that you brought up the cost of this wine, it’s something that people bring up when they are on the fence about purchasing it. First, keep in mind that Damiani only produced 170 cases of this wine. That’s it! Also, everything is hand-harvested and worked on the vine by hand (leaf-pulling, fruit thinning, etc) as opposed to being cared for via farm machinery. This allows each vine, every cluster, each berry, to be closely analyzed and cared for in their own individual ways. Seems a bit over the top, but that’s how you achieve quality in grapes. Being that it was produced in such limited quantity and with all of the precautions and nurturing that was given to this wine (and the grapes) to allow it to shine so bright, it really does merit the price-tag. Even Wine Spectator agrees with Lenn about its worth, giving it 90 Points, the highest-scoring FLX red to date with the publication. Cabernet Sauvignon is the pride and joy at Damiani, so no matter what the vintage looks like or how well things seem to be going, there are always a few extra sets of eyes looking after this variety. With all of that said, yes, the 2010 non-reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is also excellent, not as tannin-focused, but drinking very well. I’m glad that you’re indulging in some!

    Ryan, Erin, Bruce & Antoinette, great to hear your love for Damiani wines.

    Lenn, as always, it’s a sincere pleasure to read your reviews and learn about your viewpoints regarding the appellations of New York State as high-quality wine regions. And I’m very happy to know that this wine was a game-changer for you! Be prepared…there’s more where that one came from!

    Cheers all.


    I have had the 2010 Cab Sav Reserve on 5 different occasions and I can tell you that in the 30+ years of drinking primarily just red wines, this is the second best New York state red I have ever had. (Hargrave 1988 Merlot, Long Island)

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