Amber Rkatsiteli 2019
Dr. Frank Winery
Region: New York

91-Wine Enthusiast
Tasting Notes

Intoxicating and wild on the nose, with crushed violets intermingling with stone fruit, white pepper and pear. The palate has a “sweet n’ sour” element, with tart apple and citrus notes, as well as peach and nectarine. There is plenty of acidity, but the richness of the wines stops that acid from being overwhelming. Amber-gold in colour, this is one of the most interesting wines coming from New York State.

Native to Georgia, there are traces of plantings of this grape that date back over 3000 years. A white grape that gives high yields, elevated alcohol levels and intensely high levels of acidity, it is best suited to crafting sweeter or fortified wines. While Georgia is still the place where it is most prevalent (particularly Kakheti), there are plantings throughout Eastern Europe. It has also begun to find favour in the New World, as it is relatively hardy and has long hang times on the vine. Amber and orange examples are becoming increasingly popular.

One of the wine world’s great white grapes, Riesling is best grown in cooler climates where it thrives from a long, slow growing season that develops its intense aromatics and renowned acidity. It is home in Germany but is also grown successfully throughout the wine world, notably in the Alsace region of France, cooler areas in Australia and South Africa and, of course, here in Ontario. Styles vary according to site and producer, from sweet and fruity to bone-dry and austere and everything in between.

The Keuka Lake Estate Vineyards are planted in mineral-rich slate. The protective bubble of Keuka Lake moderates temperatures, particularly in the cool evenings. Starting close to sea level, the vines are densely planted (for added stress) on a gentle climbing slope.

The hand-harvested grapes were whole-cluster soaked for 5 days, followed by an 11 day ferment on the skins. All was done in amphora, which allows for oxygenation without imparting flavour. The oval shape of these vessels allows for constant movement of the lees, imparting more complexity. After a year in these amphora, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Wine Type: Amber/Dessert

Variety: Rkatseteli

Classification: N/A

Orientation: South to north, perpendicular to the lake

Appellation: Finger Lakes

Gradient: 5-8%

Soil: Glaciated shallow loam and slate

Farming Practices: Sustainable

Residual Sugar: 7.0g/l

Alcohol: 12

Malolactic: No

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: 9.2g/l

Other Practices: Sustainable