Sheldrake Point -- both the geographical point and the vineyard -- jut prominently from the western shore of Cayuga Lake and those vineyards stretch almost the whole way to the water.
The combination of deep glacial soils and the moderating effects of Cayuga Lakes deep waters provide superior conditions for growing fine quality vinifera wine grapes -- a unique microclimate that they call the 'Sheldrake Effect'. The 400-foot depths just off of their beach heat and cool more slowly than the surrounding land. The resulting hillside microclimate lengthens our growing season to 170 days, more than two weeks longer than surrounding counties.
These unique growing conditions keep bud break from happening too early in the spring, lower daily swings in temperature, and the chance of early autumn frosts. The soils at Sheldrake are predominantly well-drained Howard gravelly loam, derived from shale, limestone and slate, and considered ideal for grape production.
To most, including me, the Finger Lakes region shines with white wines but struggles with reds. Many reds from the region never achieve full ripeness, leading to lean, somewhat green tasting wines.
This wine avoids those under-ripe pitfalls. With this wine, winemaker Dave Breeden has made a cabernet franc to be proud of. Medium crimson in the glass, the aromas are intense and ripe with raspberries, a little smoky oak and a whisp of fresh mint. On the palate, the intensity continues with straightforward raspberry and blackberry flavors, smooth tannins and just enough oak to keep it from being boring. Absolutely gulpingly delicious for $14.