Damiani Wine Cellars is the rare Finger Lakes winery that can be counted on for good Bordeaux-variety wines almost regardless of vintage. In warmer, drier years however, the results can move well beyond good. 2010 was one such year.

Damiani Wine Cellars 2010 Meritage ($27) is a nervy, wiry blend of 44% cab sauv, 37% merlot, 19% cab franc that shows aromas of cassis, blackberry and black cherry fruit along with grilled herbs, a dusty earthiness and just a kiss of new oak.

Chewy but not chunky, the palate is medium-fuller bodied and delivers a bit more raw toasty oak, but the same dense core of dark fruit, earth and leaves. The finish is long and focused with a distinct graphite note at the very end.

Though drinking well now, this should have the stuffing to age 5-10 years before plateauing. And, at $27 it over-delivers.

Producer: Damiani Wine Cellars
AVA: Finger Lakes
44% cab sauv, 37% merlot, 19% cab franc
ABV: 13.7%
Production: 385 cases
Price: $27*

 (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)