Vineyard manager Charlie Hargrave brings rose-bound 2009 cabernet franc to the Peconic Bay Winery crush pad.

By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

"It’s barely ripe. It’ll
be awesome rose, or mid-line quality red. We went with rose."

That's why, according to Peconic Bay Winery's general manager Jim Silver, the 2009 edition of their second-label Nautique Esprit de Rose will be 60% cabernet franc. He added "The cabernet franc was beautiful and clean, but not ripe
enough for red wines."

CabFrancSunsettingYesterday, they sorted 16 tons of cabernet franc (just under 4 tons per acre)  that came in at 20 brix from a neighboring vineyard.

They also purchased some rose-bound cabernet sauvignon that came in earlier at 19.8 brix with yields around 2.25 tons per acre. Peconic Bay Winery doesn't put any purchased fruit into their main line, but will and does for the Nautique line, made up of a rose, a red and a white.

The rose will be rounded out by estate-grown cabernet sauvignon.

Jim told me that they are "upset to lose the
potential red wines from the 2009 harvest" but added that "When you taste the killer rose we’re
going to make, the summer of 2010 will be all the more joyful."

The merlot and cabernet franc managed by long-time vineyard manager, Charlie Hargrave, in the winery's estate vineyards still show great promise, according to Silver, and will come in at well under 2 tons per acre, the result of fruit set problems that hit many Long Island growers this year.

"Our cabernet franc will probably ripen better and be made into a small amount of
red," Silver told me in an email.

It might be years like 2009 that further cement merlot as the region's focal point. It ripens the most consistenly and it will dominate Peconic Bay's 2009 releases. Why?

"That’s how the year shook
out," said Silver "It was a challenge for sure, but merlot is a trooper!"