I’ve said it before, but it is worthy of a reminder — in your excitement to taste Long Island’s 2010 reds, don’t skip over or dismiss the 2009s.  A dry, warm autumn rewarded those growers patient enough to let their fruit hang and soak up those last bits of sun.

Roanoke Vineyards 2009 Marco Tulio ($24) is a blend of 66% cabernet franc and 34% cabernet sauvignon. Anyone who knows Long Island wine knows that Roanoke Vineyards makes some of the best cabernet franc in these parts, and that this wine is two-thirds franc is obvious from the first sniff. Black currants, blackberry and cherry fruit aromas are layered with grilled herbs, tobacco leaf, and a touch of smoke and sweet vanilla.

Medium bodied and showing ripe, sweet fruit — currants, plum and cherry — there is a hint of vanilla and tobacco and a delicious spiciness (particularly on the second day open). The tannins are of medium intensity and well-incorporated, offering enough structure for short-term improvement in bottle.  The finish isn’t particularly long, but it doesn’t drop off either.

We enjoyed this with some simply prepared grass-fed beef — salt, pepper and olive oil — cooked on the grill.

Producer: Roanoke Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $24



(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)