There aren’t that many winemakers on Long Island — so even casual fans know most of the winemakers in the region. They may even know some of the vineyard managers, at least by name. But there are so many other people involved in the making of the wines we love that many people might not know.
Andrew Rockwell is one of those people.
Currently the assistant winemaker at Sparkling Pointe, he previously spent eight years working at Premium Wine Group, working with grapes from across the East End and wines for myriad producers who use the custom crush facility.
In 2012, he bought two tons of Cabernet Franc grapes from Pellegrini Vineyards’ Richmond Creek site (the vineyard you can see from Main Road just south of Greenport Harbor Brewing’s Peconic location) to make his own wine: Rockwell Wines 2012 Cabernet Franc ($25). It’s mostly Cabernet Franc, but also includes 15 gallons each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot vinified by another producer at Premium.
Rockwell Wines 2012 Cabernet Franc
There are a lot of different styles of cab franc being made on the North Fork, and Rockwell’s leans toward the polished and elegant, rather than rustic and edgy. The nose pops with black cherries and raspberries with subtle earthy, tobacco-y notes. Medium-bodied, the palate is similarly driven by cherry fruit flavors with notes of wet earth, dried autumn leaves, and leaf tobacco.
This wine spent 18 months in large 500-liter puncheons — one new, one neutral. The oak footprint is subtle and well-integrated, coming through as a nuttiness with just a bit of vanilla. Soft, velvety tannins are joined by cranberry juicy acidity for structure. The medium-long finish balances fruit and earthy notes nicely.