Boundary Breaks Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes 2020

Deep ruby color; cherry, strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, bell pepper on the nose and palate.

Boundary Breaks Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes 2020

Dry; mild tannins, as expected with cab franc. Very good acidity for a red (3.55 pH). Blend of 85% cabernet franc, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 5% merlot. Conventional fermentation—likely stainless steel, but winery does not specify—followed by 10 months in two-year-old French oak, so minimal oak notes. There is no residual sugar, so this is a dry, pure expression of cool-climate cab franc. David Breeden is the winemaker. 12.5% ABV

The Boundary Breaks vineyard is located near the eastern shoreline of Seneca Lake. Seneca Lake is the deepest of the glacially-created Finger Lakes in northwestern New York State, below Lake Ontario. More than 700 feet deep, the lake has a significant influence on the microclimate, keeping the vineyard warmer during the coldest times of winter. The lake seldom freezes. Boundary Breaks’s western-facing slopes benefit from extended afternoon sun.


Boundary Breaks Vineyard and Seneca Lake

Being located in the Finger Lakes region, Boundary Breaks focuses on cool-climate grape varieties—cabernet franc, riesling, and gewürztraminer. Their first vines—riesling—were planted in 2009. Their first release was in 2013. Bruce Murray and Diana Lyttle—husband and wife—are co-owners of the winery. There are nice videos of each, and more, on the website. Bruce grew up in central New York, not far from the Finger Lakes, and worked for three decades in publishing. Diana was a high school science teacher for three decades in New Milford, CT. They married in 2017. In both cases, making wine in the Finger Lakes region was a second chapter in life dream.

The property that now is the vineyard was acquired by Abram Covert from John and Louisa Crisfield in 1861. The Coverts farmed the property until the last member of the family, Porter Covert, died in 1967. Renters farmed corn and soybeans after that. The Covert family sold most of the land to Bruce Murray in 2008. The next year he started planting wine vines. The “Boundary Breaks” name comes from two deep gorges on the northern and southern boundaries of the site.

Boundary Breaks riesling grapes

Originally only planted in riesling, in 2013 small amounts of cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon were added. In the years after that, a larger facility and a tasting room were added to the property. The tasting room includes outdoor facilities with views of Seneca Lake.

Boundary Breaks co-owner Bruce Murray (center) with vineyard assistant John Swick (left) and vineyard manager Kees Stapel (right)

Boundary Breaks Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes 2020 is a straightforward, good representative of cool-climate cab franc, the progenitor of cabernet sauvignon. The relatively low alcohol bodes well for it being a good food-pairing wine. Made by a consistent producer with relatively wide distribution for a Finger Lakes offering. Pair with beef dishes; pasta, particularly with tomato-based sauces; barbecue beef and chicken; pork—baby back ribs, pork barbecue. Cheese—young, creamy; goat cheeses; feta, gorgonzola, fontina, chèvre, boursin, camembert, brie, blue cheese. $20-23

Boundary Breaks Vineyard website