Few things embolden Pennsylvania winemakers (and their customers) more than kudos from a respected wine competition far afield.

So news of a gold medal at the San Diego International Wine Competition for a 2012 Cabernet Franc was rightfully received with pride by the team at Karamoor in Fort Washington.

Still surprised that good wine is made in Philly's suburbs? I'm not, especially from Karamoor, the passion project of Nick and Athena Karabots, who have done everything right to get the most out of their Montgomery County terroir, with impressively drinkable wines from the first vintage in 2011.

I've long viewed cab franc as the region's most promising red grape. And winemaker Kevin Robinson shows why, with a polished and balanced red that's deep with black cherry fruit, an echo of spice and an earthiness that swells with air time. I actually prefer my cab francs a bit earthier (more bell pepper and dirt, a touch less softening merlot in the blend), especially at $31.

But economies of scale will improve as the local wine industry matures. It's clear the hardest part - serious quality - is already here.

-Craig LaBan

Karamoor 2012 Cabernet Franc, $31, at winery and online only: karamoorwines.com. Free shipping for three bottles or more.