You just don’t see cabernet sauvignon labeled 12.2% abv very often. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one — even from the cooler climes of the Finger Lakes. But that was truthfully the first thing I noticed upon pulling this Standing Stone Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($24) for tasting recently.

The first thing that popped into my head — fair or not — was “Is this going to taste underripe?” No, but it’s also probably not what most customers expect from cabernet either.

Fruity on the nose, it offers a melange of cherry, blackberry and blueberry fruit with a subtle tobacco leaf note.

Straightforward and lighter bodied, it is again fruity and reliant on acidity rather than tannins for structure. As it sits in the glass a bit, there is a faint Red Hot candy flavor towards the end of the medium-short finish.

Producer: Standing Stone Vineyards
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12.2%
Grapes: 87% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc, 3% merlot, 3% petit verdot
Production: 414 cases
Price: $24* | Buy now from Empire State Cellars

(2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)