This Bordeaux grape is a standout in the Finger Lakes. Shaw approaches this varietal as an age-worthy red of its own merit, offering a full, well-rounded style that avoids the green edge that plagues this wine when crops are held too high and harvested too early.
Cabernet Franc (unoaked)
A wine made in the spirit of the Loire Valley, this style is the exception to the Shaw rule in that aging is limited to only two years. Treated only in a stainless steel tank, this wine really shows off the depth of this grape, especially when it is allowed to fully ripen before harvest.
The jewel of Burgundy is not an easy vine to tend to in the Finger Lakes as it is susceptible to cold winters and disease, but the growing season itself makes for a great wine not unlike the style found in northern France. Earthy and rich fruit make this a labor of love. Shaw’s attention to detail in the vineyard is a key to Pinot Noir’s success.
This grape has a mixed reputation in the Finger Lakes because it demands a long growing season and heavy extraction. Shaw tends to its Cab Sauv crop by letting it hang, then allowing for whole berry skin contact to create a full-bodied cool-climate red. The result is a European-style Cabernet Sauvignon.
In many ways Merlot, the workhorse of Bordeaux, is easier to produce than Cabernet Franc as it does just fine in a traditional Finger Lakes growing season. The trick is the vine’s tolerance for the lows of an upstate New York winter; weather in January can mean few buds in the spring. Regardless, when this grape is growing it does very well and it responds favorably to gentle handling at Shaw.
Keuka Hill Reserve
Named after the site of the original 1981 Shaw vinifera vineyard, this meritage Bordeaux-style blend (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc) highlights some of the very best lots of a given vintage. This wine is always a winemaker’s treat and it reveals some of the very best elements as to how well-grown Bordeaux varieties can shine in the Finger Lakes.