By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief


As I mentioned last week when reviewing their 2008 riesling, Damiani Wine Cellars is one of a handful of seemingly maniacal Finger Lakes wineries focusing mostly on red wines.

With relatively cool, sometimes-short growing seasons and frigid winters, there's good reason to eschew the classic Bordeaux varieties but there are some very good wines being made with these grapes in the Finger Lakes.

This Damiani Wine Cellars 2007 Meritage ($27) is one of them.

Made by blending 5 barrels of cabernet sauvignon with 4 barrels of merlot and 3 of cabernet franc — a mix of new and older French and American oak — this balanced red is sure to surprise those who think wines like this can't be done in the Finger Lakes.

Red cherries and macerated cranberries are joined by subtle oak and cherry confection aromas on an alluring nose that showed more spice and nuances of vanilla and minerals as the wine sat in my glass over the course of an evening.

Medium bodied on the palate, there is a nice core or red fruit here with a distinctly cranberry note. The spice that took a bit of time to emerge on the nose is more prominent on the palate as is the oak, though only a little.

The medium-light tannins are ripe and well incorporated, making this wine one for drinking now rather than cellaring. The finish is medium-long, with a pretty minty-menthol note at the end. 

Producer: Damiani Wine Cellars
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12.7%

Production: 275 cases

Price: $27*

Rating:   30 (3 out of 5 | Recommended)

(Ratings Guide)