» Summer 2015
Cabernet Franc: One Versatile Grape
“Our wine production using Cabernet Franc runs the gamut; from traditional oaked table wine, to light Dry Rosé, to very sweet and special Ice Wines,” says winemaker Dave Breeden about the grape that makes up one quarter of Sheldrake Point’s vineyard plantings. “Few grapes are that versatile, rivaled only by Riesling, and people don’t think of a red grape this way.”
Sheldrake Point has used the Cabernet Franc grape for 6 different wines over the years:
- As the basis for our Luckystone Red house vinifera (available)
- Cabernet Franc Ice Wine (2013 available)
- Meritage, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot (2012 available)
- Dry Rosé (limited quantities available to Wine Club Members )
- A nouveau, similar to Beaujolais, but made with Cab Franc instead of Gamay (no longer available)
- Reserve Cabernet Franc (in our wine library)
The variety of uses also means varied winemaking processes. In a typical red wine process, fermentation happens on the skins, and the skins must be punched down on a daily basis. Ice wine has its own labor intensities related to winter harvesting, and Rosé, too, has unique processing demands.
For our Rosé, an overnight cold soak means the juice and skins have to be kept below 55 degrees to prevent fermentation from starting. We hand pick whenever possible, but may machine pick to take advantage of a cold day. Plus, our refrigeration trailer is helpful for consistent chilling when Mother Nature is uncooperative.
“The challenge with Rosé is the overnight cold soak, ideally in the press,” says Dave B. Nearly 26 tons of Cabernet Franc grapes were harvested in one day for our 2014 Dry Rosé, but we could store only 6 tons in the press, and the remaining 20 tons were parceled out to a 3,200 gallon tank and other receptacles. It is a whirlwind 24 hours of harvesting, crushing, destemming, and the cold soak, then removing the skins the next day. All that work is worth it.
Our Dry Rosé is made 100% from our Cabernet Franc grapes, and it’s fast becoming one of our top selling wines. We grow two clones of Cabernet Franc in our vineyard and one of those clones is destined entirely for Rosé.
“A known feature of Clone 327 is that is has very little tannins,” says vineyard manager David Wiemann. “That’s a downside for red wines, but this clone also produces bigger berries for fresher fruit flavors. It’s a good match for making our Rosé.” We grow 31 rows, or about 4 acres of Clone 327.
For our Rosé, we want to avoid the development of methoxypyrazines, an unfavorable ‘green’ flavor, and we do want enough acidity to support a fresh cranberry fruit flavor. “It’s just getting the harvest day right, and the beauty of Cabernet Franc is that it hits that ripeness every year. It is a grape variety that fits our climate, and our wine program, very well,” says David W.
Because Cabernet Franc is so versatile, and we grow so much of it,
Sheldrake Point is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for Dry Rosé. Dave Breeden says he’s never seen another wine category grow so fast in the Finger Lakes, and worldwide. It is a category that the Finger Lakes can grow with in the same way that Riesling has been a breakout product for the region. We have raised our production from 400 cases three years ago to the current 1450 cases we made of our 2014 vintage. Despite the annual increases, we have consistently sold out shortly after bottling.
Dry Rosé is not meant to be aged, and you likely won’t (and shouldn’t) find it on store shelves much beyond Thanksgiving. So don’t wait! Make our 2014 Dry Rosé a part of your summer and fall!
Save the Date: Wine Club Dinner, July 25
Wine Club members and their guests are invited to join us for our annual Wine Club Dinner. Enjoy special library tastings, a vineyard tour and a five course dinner provided by Chef Lerman paired with Sheldrake Point Wine and live music.
Space is limited, reserve early.
Single Ticket: $85 Couple’s Ticket: $150
To purchase tickets please call us at (607) 532-9401.
Perfect Pairings for the Grill
Plan a Red, White and Blue Luckystone trio for your next barbecue get together. These three wines satisfy a wide variety of tastes and are an excellent pairing for grilled meats and picnic fare.
Ch-ch-ch-changes in the Tasting Room!
As the wine tasting season gets well underway, we are pleased to show off our remodeled Tasting Room! We took the downtime during this past winter to move walls and doorways, and build new cabinetry, all to improve the tasting room experience. We will be able to better accommodate larger groups in the Garden Room, and more organically move the flow of foot traffic throughout our whole building. And, remember, our gardens, meadow, and dock area on Cayuga Lake are always great places to relax before getting back on the road.
Music Returns to Sheldrake Point Winery
June 20 – Miller’s Wheel
Bring a picnic (no outside alcohol please) and join us for an evening with local string band Miller’s Wheel – it’s sure to be “a foot stompin’ good time”! Wines will be served by the glass.
July 18 – Bob Lyna and Friends
Join us for a mid-summer concert with Bob Lyna and Friends. Relax and take in the beautiful surroundings while enjoying Sheldrake Point wines!
August 29 – Doolin O’Dey
If you love music that makes you want to get up and dance, then you will love the sounds of original Celtic band Doolin O’Dey. Come stomp your feet and enjoy some Sheldrake wines!
Check the events calendar often for up-to-date information on upcoming events.
In the Glass
Bottle aged for nearly two years—this wine is plush with aromas of smoke and stewed fruit. Flavors of sweet oak and plum interact with an herbaceous and savory quality through the finish of the wine.
Steak, roast lamb, beef and venison are classic pairing partners. Grilled red meats are particularly complimentary—substitute portobella for a lighter, vegetarian option.read more»
This all-grill meal has strip steak as its centerpiece, a classic pairing partner with Cabernet Sauvignon. The char on grilled red meats particularly compliment the bitter edge of the wine’s tannins, and the robust flavor profiles of the Cabernet Sauvignon and of grilled foods both hold up. Pour a glassread more»