Despite what casual observers or even some writers will tell you, a hot, dry growing season doesn’t automatically mean the best — or the most exciting — wines. When a local red wine captures the ripeness and intensity of such a vintage, but also retains its varietal character and regional distinctiveness — that’s when I really start to pay attention.

Bedell Cellars 2010 Cabernet Franc ($35) is one such wine. Made without a splinter of new oak — and with ambient yeast — this wine offers an alluring, complex nose with layers of strawberry preserves, black cherries, blackberries, Chinese five spice, rhubarb, woodsy black tea and bay leaf. It’s too rare to find Long Island cabernet franc that combines this level of ripeness with varietal character.

On the fuller-bodied side, the palate is less complex showing mostly primary fruit qualities — cherry and blackberry — with a bit of sundried tomato. Ripe, cottony tannins help fill the mouth and broaden the mouthfeel while acidity keeps things fresh and a bit lively.

I’d like to- and will — revisit this wine in 6-12 months to see if the added time in bottle coaxes out more of the secondary and tertiary flavors, to see if the palate develops to where the nose is today.

Producer: Bedell Cellars
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $35*

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