WRITER ERIN SCHERER
PHOTOGRAPHER HEATHER AINSWORTH
Dry rosé has become a hot commodity in the Finger Lakes, and some people believe that dry rosé is poised to become the Finger Lakes’ next breakout wine. Among the rosés leading the pack is Sheldrake Point’s Dry Rosé, whose 2017 vintage garnered a 90 in both Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits magazine. Although Sheldrake Point has made dry rosé since its inaugural vintage in 1997, it’s only taken off in the last few years, something owner Chuck Tauck credits to Winemaker Dave Breeden’s business acumen.
“It really clicked for us a few years ago, recognizing that opportunity and running with it.”
Sheldrake Point’s Dry Rosé is made entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes. Breeden and Vineyard Manager Dave Weimann bring the grapes in cold, or “somehow get them cold,” says Breeden, and the grapes are then crushed and destemmed. Using the cold soak process, the grapes are left on the skins overnight (about 12–14 hours), then pressed off and subsequently treated like a white wine until the wine’s release in February. A majority of Sheldrake Point’s Cabernet Franc crop is used for dry rosé in any given year. However, the 2017 vintage brought an overabundance of Cabernet Franc and only 70% of it was used. (The remainder went to an experimental Cabernet Franc tentatively titled “All The Dead Things.”)
2,550 cases were produced for the 2017 vintage, and it’s Sheldrake Point’s best-selling wine. Because the wine is relatively inexpensive to make and produce and only spends a few months in the winery, it manages to offset debts that might accrue with the production of other wines. Says Tauck: “It’s the tail that wags our dog. It isn’t cheap, it isn’t sweet. But it’s a quality wine that we can sell at a respectable price.”
This story was featured in our Wine 2018 Issue