Freedomrun_07cabBy Lenn Thompson

The NYCR's Niagara USA contingent — regional editor Bryan Calandrelli and beer editor Julia Burke — talk a lot about their home region's pinot noir, and with good reason. I've only had a few, but at least one impressed already.

After tasting Freedom Run Winery 2007 Cabernet ($25), I'm much even more excited about cabernet franc's potential in the region.

Made with 65% cabernet franc and 35% cabernet sauvignon — all estate-grown fruit — was a standout wine in a recent tasting of New York reds. This is a cabernet franc-lover's kind of wine and was the first bottle emptied.

The nose is earthy — like opening a wet bag of topsoil earthy — with ripe cassis and blackberry fruit aromas, and an intriguing melange of capers, celery seed and fennel in the background.

Somewhat juicy and ripe-but-balanced, the medium-bodied palate delivers intense cassis and blackberry flavors with the herbal notes pushed back a bit, all framed and enlivened by ripe tannins good acidity. The finish is long, bringing briny and earthy qualities back to the forefront.

This is a wine that was still drinking well on the third day too, hinting at potential for at least short-term cellaring.

Is Niagara USA cab franc country? If this is any indication, it sure might be. This wine is another example of why cabernet franc is the red grape that works best across the entire state.

Producer: Freedom Run Winery
AVA: Niagara Escarpment
Case Production: 70
Price: $25*
Rating: 91

(*Ratings Guide)