Wine Review: 2019 Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli
It is no secret we are fans of the Finger Lakes. Its maturation as a wine region provides the template for any Northeast or Midwestern wine region. Certainly, the eponymous lakes give it an advantage other places can only dream of, but carefully choosing sites and varietals (with a healthy dose of experimenting) is what regions need to do to find the perfect varietals for them. You may not be lucky enough to be able to grow great Riesling, but there is something for every region.
Rkatsiteli is an ancient Georgian varietal, Georgia’s most widely planted grape, and perhaps the oldest known varietal. It was introduced by Dr. Konstantin Frank to the Finger Lakes in the 1960s. While many of Dr. Frank’s experimental grapes didn’t have any permanence (it is reported when Konstantin’s health began to decline and the winery was being turned over to the next generation, over sixty varietals were in the ground), Rkatsiteli stuck around and become a calling card for the brand. You see it popping up here and there around the country, but it is hard to source them. Our tasting panel recently sat down with Dr Frank’s 2019 vintage, which more than rewards the Franks’ continued devotion to this grape, and makes you hope more wineries will put this varietal in the ground.
Lots of lemon peel, blossom, and apple on the nose. Medium-high acidity, medium body. Starts with kiwi and light honey, mid-palate is mineral, candied citrus, a bit of pepper, and a long lingering finish of quince, orange blossom honey and stone. You can taste the light residual sugar, but balanced by the bracing acidity. Wonderfully tingly in the mouth. Great with grapes or goat cheese, and in fact a quite versatile food wine. A tremendous value.
Wine: 2019 Rkatsiteli
From: Dr. Konstantin Frank
From: Finger Lakes, New York
Varietals: 100% Rkatsiteli
Rating: 93 pts