When it comes to cabernet franc, Roanoke Vineyards is the rare Long Island producer that can be counted on — almost without fail — from year to year. Cabernet franc can be tricky. If it doesn’t get ripe enough, it can taste like green bell pepper. Too ripe and it loses varietal character. It can be a fine line to toe, but owner and vineyard manager Richie Pisacno deftly walks it. And winemaker Roman Roth carries it through in the cellar.

Roanoke Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc ($34) delivers aromas of dark-roast coffee, roasted nuts, blackberry, black cherry and cola. On day two, the fruit blossoms a bit, taking over more and adding a bit of spiced blueberry.

The medium-bodied palate lacks just a bit of fruit when first open; dominated by earthy, woodsy and spicy flavors. But, with some air, blackberry and cherry flavors emerge, along with a savory-umami quality. The tannins are well incorporated and the finish is long and spicy.

Its improvement on days two and even three suggest that decanting is in order. Or another six months to a year in your cellar.

Producer: Roanoke Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13.2%
Price: $34

(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)