Heron-hill-08-cab-francBy Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

The image of Finger Lakes red wines as typically underwhelming — especially compared to the regions often outstanding white wines — has begun to evolve in recent years — mostly thanks to two warm vintages (2005 and 2007) and a handful of producers really pushing the quality envelope.

The region is getting its due for its red wines too now — at least here and there.

Here's a wine from the more "normal" 2008 vintage that further proves how silly it is to generalize when it comes to wine.

Heron Hill Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc ($18) shows aromas of blackberry and black raspberry fruit under a veil of toasty oak and leaf tobacco. With time in the glass, a subtle savory/umami note emerges as well.

With a surprisingly dense core of sweet black and blue fruit, the medium-bodied palate delivers good intensity of fruit with a smoky, peppery edge. Though relatively low on tannin, there is nice acidity here for structure.

The tobacco leaf character from the nose reappears towards the end of a medium-long finish that also shows a bit of oak.

Producer: Heron Hill Winery
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12.5%  
Price: $18*

(3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)

(*Ratings Guide)