Standingstone_05pinnacle2005 Finger Lakes reds continue to show well in my weekly tastings. Of course, no one expects the region's reds to push the aromatic whites into the background, but it is clear that, in hot years anyway, elegant, balanced reds are possible.

Standing Stone Vineyards' 2005 Pinnacle ($23) is a Bordeaux-style blend (or Meritage if you will) made with 89% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc and 3% merlot. In the glass, it shows nice extraction and is a rich crimson-violet color.

The nose is intense with Bing cherries, caramel-vanilla and hints of oak. The palate is lush with bright cherry flavors — fresh, stewed and candied — and oak-imparted flavors of vanilla and Werther's Originals candy. It could use a bit more structure, but for drinking today, there's just enough. The tannins are well-integrated and the finish lingers a bit with an interesting herbal note.

The flavors are a little straight forward, but this is still one of the best cabernet-based wines I've tasted from the Finger Lakes.

Producer: Standing Stone Vineyards
AVA: Finger Lakes
Price: $23
Rating: 25
(2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Very Good)
(Ratings Guide)