Q4 2023 – Wine Club Newsletter

Welcome 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Long awaited and sorely missed, we are pleased to in-troduce our first reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in seven years. And wow, was it worth the wait!

Our 2020 Cab Sauv Reserve is a single vineyard, estate- grown beauty, made from grapes grown exclusively on our small vineyard located just south of the neighbor-hood of Caywood, and due east of Caywood Point on the east side of Seneca Lake. It is only the sixth reserve Cabernet Sauvignon we’ve made in our 19 years in this crazy business called winemaking; the most recent prior was 2013. Suffice it to say that we wait for exceptional fruit from just the right combination of soil, season, and love before considering the lofty endeavor. How long must we wait until Mother Nature gifts us with another vintage that ticks all the boxes? Only time will tell.

Cabernet Sauvignon is (or I should say, was) not typically thought to be highly lauded in the Finger Lakes, however our Cab Sauv Reserve from 2010 was the first Finger Lakes red wine to be awarded a score of 90 points by Wine Spectator. Not only are we proud of that honor, but we are delighted that many red wines from the state and the FLX region in partic-ular have in the years since gained far more critical attention and accolades from many well-regarded publications and judges. We think this Cab will give that stunning 2010 a run for its money.

Dark and glorious in the goblet, our magnificent and stately Sauv greets your nose with rich, deep notes of black raspberry and dark plum, spicy impressions of black pepper, black tea, pine needles and autumn leaves, all embraced by opulent mocha. First sips reveal espresso, bittersweet chocolate, cassis, and black cherry. As the palate opens and shares its mysteries we’re treated to flavors of pomegranate, ripe strawberry, and straw-berry leaf. The finish is long, strong and grippy, hinting of more black tea and cedar. A beautiful wine, dark and atmospheric, and sure to age like a jewel.

We recommend a drink window of 2025 – 2029 – 2036+, but if you absolutely cannot wait, decanting will allow this darling to spread its wings. Serve at 55°-60°f.

-Cheers! Brandy, Club Manager


2023 Harvest Notes

The 2023 season was one that tested us in a variety of ways but with perseverance, lots of hard work, and a bit of luck, we are very happy with the quality of wines from this year.

After 2022’s small crop following a very cold winter, the vines were ready to produce again, and the first signs of green tissue in early May showed the year to be healthy and abundant. Then a late-spring frost event occurred, hitting the entire region with below 32-degree tempera-tures for over 8 hours when most vinifera shoots were 2-5 inches long. Some areas were hit hard, while others were untouched. At Damiani, we were very fortunate to have been left almost unscathed, apart from a few acres. Although, the blocks that were damaged were not lost completely, as their secondary buds pushed a few weeks later and green tissue was seen again.

As the vines entered the rapid growth phase – June through July – we saw a decent amount of rainfall and humidity, both of which can be very challenging in combatting fungal diseases. Our immensely dedicated vineyard team worked every day to ensure that each vineyard got the proper care at the most opportune time, including shoot positioning, leaf thinning, and a robust but holistic pest management spray program.

Like clockwork, once we reach mid-August and our previous vintage is in bottle, we begin to bring out our harvest equipment, dusting off the cobwebs and anxiously waiting for the grapes to ripen. At Damiani, our season always starts early with the sparkling har-vest and thanks to moderate temperatures at the end of August, we coasted right into the season before things started to heat up again in early September.

September and October can be a bit of a blur for all wine-folk, as all the fruit is being picked, processed, fermented and pressed at every turn. Across all varieties and vineyards, the season was packed with supple flavors, rich textures, and lovely driving acidity.

During the exciting chaos that is the harvest season, we get to relish in the moments that make production so wonderful – tasting fruit off the vine and determining its lifecycle as a wine, seeing the bubbles of fermentation every day, and hearing the continuous laughter over blaring music from the sorting table. It’s in these moments that I can sit back and truly appreciate what we do and know that none of it could have happened without all these wonderfully goofy people.

I want to give very, very special praise to our production team for 2023:

To our vineyard & maintenance team, Nancy, Taylor, Cian, Nora, Angel, & Tim for going above and beyond this season. For always being there to lend a helping hand no matter what time it was and never without a smile. To our seasonal cellarhand, Marc – I am so grateful for your experience and knowledge, attention to detail and get-it-done attitude, but most importantly, your humor and wit. Also, we’re Birthday twins!

To Alex, our assistant winemaker and eternal op-timist – your dedication and perseverance is truly special. Your ability to stay up all night with a restless toddler and come to work with a smile on your face and step right into action is incredibly impressive. I’m so grateful to have such a caring, committed, and cheerful wine partner.

To Phil, our vineyard mind and fearless leader – your energy and light is intoxicating. You bring so much joy to those around you through your silly but al-ways heartfelt moments. I truly value how you push all of us to be excellent, and it shows through every layer of production.

As the 2023 season begins its next chapter, we will enthusiastically be waiting to share these wines with you and ring in another wonderful Damiani harvest!

Happy 2023 Harvest, Katey, Winemaker

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