Cabernet Sauvignon in the Finger Lakes will never be be the statement grape of the area. It requires a longer growing season than most of the terroir in the region is capable of achieving before the first fall frost harvests the leaves.
At Damiani we are fortunate to have a couple of locations that have proximity to the deepest part of Seneca Lake, the deepest Finger Lake. The mitigation achieved by this proximity gives us just enough time and consequent heat units to pull off ripening the fruit and allow for the critical post harvest recovery of the plant.
The post harvest recovery of vines is a topic seldom discussed but is a crucial stage to ensure winter hardiness and bud maturity the following spring. Ideally you have green leaves, and consequent photosynthesis, continue two to three weeks post harvest. This allows roots to store energy for next spring’s emergent vegetation and the plant shoots to complete lignification. Due to the location of our sites we typically can achieve both desired fruit and plant maturity. There is no question it’s our most challenging grape to grow in terms of being weather vulnerable from a maturity standpoint.
In fact, it’s why we make very little Cabernet Sauvignon and when we do, it goes mostly to wine club. We haven’t released a Cabernet Sauvignon to the public in five years, which is why this release is so special!
I find our Cabernet Sauvignon to be typically bold and supple with an expression of the fruit that confers its complexity across the whole palate. By picking at a stage where the acidity lends the wine an aliveness and the fruit depth hasn’t been run over by darkness and jammy components, it allows winemaker Phil Arras to create a wine with the aforementioned characteristics. As a varietal or blended, a wine to sip or as a wine to complement a sumptuous meal, Cabernet Sauvignon from our vineyards and the Finger Lakes can be a wonderful thing. Break out the grill: steak and potatoes time!!
– Phil Davis