Dr. Konstantin Frank Cabernet Franc

Maker: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Hammondsport, New York, USADr Frank Cab Franc

Place of origin: Finger Lakes AVA, New York, USA

Vintage: 2007

ABV: 12%

Price: $20 on website (2011 vintage)

Thanks to Amy for use of her cellar for this bottle.

Appearance: Brick red with long broad legs.

Nose: Rich and structured. Blackberry jam, vanilla, oak, a slight herbaceous note.

Palate: Medium bodied, dry and slightly chewy. Fruity at first, a little tartness, then a little sweet red pepper followed by hit of oak and tannin on the back end.

Finish: Slightly bitter, but balanced out by fruit and ends in a big hit of oak.

Parting words: I got this wine many years ago. It may have been during our trip to the Finger Lakes (Keuka and Seneca lakes, specifically) but I think that was 2006, so it would not have been possible for us to purchase this bottle then. Anyway, my patience has been greatly rewarded.

Cabernet Franc is one of the few Bordeaux red wine grapes that does consistently well in the Eastern  U.S. The knock on Cab Franc, as we heard repeatedly in California, was that it can produce a bitter, vegetal “green pepper” taste. One winery we visited even apologized for a blend they poured for us that contained Cab Franc. “It’s mostly Cab Franc, but it’s pretty good.”

This is all Cab Franc and it’s pretty good. It is firm and dry with a slight bell pepper note but more sweet than green, as I noted above. It is kept well in check by tannin, fruit and acid. It drinks like Merlot or a mid-level red Bordeaux with some good age on it. Even approaching seven years old, this wine is still going strong.

We had it with flat iron steak tacos and it paired very well. Hamburgers, steaks or lamb chops would work nicely too. This wine is proof that the northeastern quadrant of the US can make very good red wines. Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Cabernet Franc is highly recommended.

Now Drinking

Rock Stream Dry Cayuga White

Maker: Rock Stream Vineyards, Rock Stream, New York

Grape: Cayuga (hybrid)

ABV: 11%

Region: Seneca Lake AVA (Finger Lakes)

Vintage: 2008

Picked this wine up on our trip to the Finger Lakes in the summer of 2009.  I don’t really remember much about this particular winery.  It was one of the last ones we visited.  If I recall correctly they had a number of pretty good dessert wines.  We purchased a late harvest Traminette, that was pretty good.

Color: Very light.  Very pale gold.  A bit lively, too.

Nose: Dry but fruity.  Melon, pear.

On the Palate: Dry but tart and crisp.  Grapefruit, Pineapple.

Finish: Tart.  Lingers in the cheeks for a long time. 

Parting Words: I don’t remember how much this wine cost, but it comes off as kind of a poor man’s NZ Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s pretty good, really, but not anything that is going to change my life.  It would go well with seafood or herbal chicken dishes, I think.  Nice table wine.

Review in Brief

Dr. Konstantin Frank Semi-Dry Riesling 2007

Region: Finger Lakes, New York (Keuka Lake).

ABV:  11.5% ABV

Color: butter

Nose:  pear, peach, perfumed

Palate: Mandarin Orange, peaches, sweet, medium body

Finish: very peach then fading to Bartlett pear, then light and sweet

Parting Words: What a great wine!  this is what Riesling should be.

Now Drinking

Thirsty Owl Vidal Blanc

Grape: Vidal Blanc

Vintage: 2008

Region: Finger Lakes AVA

ABV: 11%

Maker: Thirsty Owl Wine Co., Ovid, New York (Cayuga Lake, west bank)

Vidal Blanc is a Euro-American hybrid grape variety developed by a man named Jean Louis Vidal.  One of its parents was Ugni Blanc, the grape used to make Cognac and Armagnac.  Vidal apparently thought his cross would be useful in brandy production, but it has proven to be most useful in the production of ice wine.

This is not an ice wine, however.  But it’s almost like a watered down one, in a very good way.  The nose is light, slightly dry, with a hint of pineapple.  The pineapple sneaks up on the palate after it enters the mouth.  It blossoms into a big slice of fresh, ripe pineapple and fades into a rich, sweet finish.  It’s a surprisingly good wine, one worth seeking out.  I don’t know if this owl flys outside of New York, but if you see it, catch it.