Wine Review: 2012 Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Margrit’s Vineyard Riesling

Hi all! I recently returned from spending some time in Upstate New York, where I tasted some wines in the Finger Lakes region.

Finger Lakes wine is up and coming – like many small wine regions, the winemakers are constantly experimenting with which grapes grow well, and which grape varietals may not love the Upstate terroir as much as the rest of us!

Dr. Konstantin Frank is a huge reason that Finger Lakes wines are on the map at all. Dr. Frank – who held a PhD in viticulture – emigrated to Upstate New York in the 1950s, and through his work and persistence, helped the delicate European vine, Vitis Vinifera, to flourish in the region.

Dr. Frank’s vineyards are located on Seneca Lake, and the winemakers – from Germany, Australia, California and New York – are making some of the best (and most awarded) wines in the Finger Lakes.

The Dr. Frank’s vineyard is nationally renowned for their German varietals: Grüner Veltliner, Gewütztraminer and Riesling. In fact, they employ a German winemaker from the Mosel Valley whose sole responsibility is to attend to these varietals (Hi, Peter!).  

I had the opportunity to chat with Peter, and to taste one of Dr. Frank’s new releases: the 2012 Margrit’s Vineyard Riesling.

The wine is named for Margrit Frank, and an ode to the many women behind the men who make a successful wine.  In fact, the label notes that the “lively” characteristics of the wine reflect Margrit’s personality: “The wine is as zestful and limitless as the woman it is inspired after.”

The grapes are grown in a single vineyard on the east side of Seneca Lake, which gives the grapes a little more sun and ripeness than elsewhere in the Finger Lakes. The wine itself sees 6 months in French oak – a rarity for Riesling and a first for Dr. Frank’s Rieslings, who normally see no oak at all. The oak gives the Riesling a nice full body, and a structure that isn’t normally present in this varietal.

The nose is a bouquet of scents – ginger, ripe pear, rosemary and yellow apple skins. On the first sip, that full body is apparent. The wine is silky smooth and lovely, with white peach, apricot and that pear rounding out the mouth with structured elegance. The finish in this wine goes on for days and days….and days.

This bottle is one to be sipped and shared with other wine lovers – either immediately, or in a few years (it’s one of the few whites that will lay down well).  You can only buy this wine at the vineyard, however, so get yourself to the Finger Lakes. This upcoming Autumn is a beautiful time to visit.

My rating? Squee…! Place of Purchase: Dr. Frank's Tasting Room in Hammondsport, NY. Price Point: $50