I’ve enjoyed many of co-owner/winemaker Duncan Ross’ wines from Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in the past, but his cabernet franc remained elusive — mainly because it’s typically only available in the winery’s tasting room. So on my recent visit to Empire State Cellars, not long after Duncan had been there to pour several of his recently released reds, I was thrilled to find this bottle of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc ($25).

The ripeness of the 2010 Niagara vintage is on full display from the moment the wine settles in the glass — and so are the 22 months this wine spent in oak barrels. Aromas of black and blueberries are joined by notes of sandalwood, smoke and vanilla.

Medium bodied and showing a certain freshness (an underrated quality in red wines, I think) the black and blue fruit carries through here, with an earthy edge and more sandalwood and vanilla. The tannins are grippy and dusty, though at least some of that comes from the barrels.

A well-made wine that I wish I could have tasted after 18 — or better yet 12 — months in oak.

Producer: Arrowhead Spring Vineyards
AVA: Niagara Escarpment
ABV: 13.5%
Price: $25 | Buy now from Empire State Cellars

(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)