I don’t want to jinx it, but it seems like Long Island winemakers have largely moved beyond the days of treating cabernet franc like cabernet sauvignon. Most winemakers really scaled back the amount of new oak they are using and are allowing cabernet franc be cabernet franc. They aren’t trying to beat all of the “green” out of the variety as often and as a result very few wood-and-chocolate-and-vanilla-dominated cabernet francs have crossed my tasting table over the past year.
A handful of wineries put out unoaked versions now, and Shinn Estate Vineyards — long growers and makers of some of the best local cab franc — have added a new wine to the cab franc lineup: Shinn Estate Vineyards 2014 “Mojo” Cabernet Franc ($22).
Fresh and vibrant – with nary a splinter of oak used in its production – this is North Fork cab franc at is most transparent and pure.
Lean, crunchy red fruits – think raspberry and cranberry – are joined by an earthy, woodsy spicy note and just a bit of the herbal nuance that the best Long Island cabernet franc always has. It relies on acidity rather than tannin for structure.
At the table, treat it almost like you would pinot noir, with pork and fowl and even richer fish dishes. Thanksgiving dinner would be a good time to open it – but perhaps even better would be with your leftover turkey sandwich piled with sausage stuffing and cranberry mayo.
At release, it was available for under $20 at the winery. The price is $22 now.
Producer: Shinn Estate Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Blend: 100% cabernet franc
(3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)
Note: this was my northforker.com “Wine of the Week” for the week of November 8, 2015