written by Brenda Beland
For four generations the Frank family has produced wines of the highest quality in the tradition of the legendary Dr.Konstatin Frank, Father of Vinifera, in the eastern United States. In 1957, Dr. Frank planted his first vines and then in 1962, he established Dr. Konstatin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars. In 1980, Dr. Frank’s son Willy purchased the neighboring stone home and cellar for the purpose of producing methode champenoise sparkling wine using the classic French Champagne grapes. Today that stone home is used for their 1886 Food and Wine Experience, catering to those with a deeper interest in winemaking philosophy, offering a seated wine tasting paired with local small plates and a barrel tasting in the cellar. I have attended this twice, both different and very interesting. In 1993, third generation Frederick Frank took over the leadership and offered out their value brand, Salmon Run, in honor of the majestic landlocked Salmon and beautiful Keuka Lake. Finally, fourth generation Meaghan Frank has brought many innovative ideas, namely the 1886 Food & Wine Experience in addition to making a single vineyard series named after the Frank women.
Throughout all that history above, we are excited to bring the one gentleman who has spanned through several of the above generations, Mark Veraguth, Dr. Frank’s head winemaker of thirty years. After meeting with Mark in the fall, he agreed to travel to Harrisburg to speak to our wine society and showcase the eight following wines:
Blanc de Blanc 2013 – only the first delicate pressing, called the cuvee, is used in this 100% Chardonnay. First fermented in French oak then left in the bottle with the lees for 4 years in the cellar, this methode champenoise sparkler has crisp acidity & mineral undertones giving it great structure and an long apple finish.
Gruner Veltliner 2017 – planted in 2007 by Fred Frank, this Seneca lake 100% Gruner is expressive with it’s mineral backbone and crisp acidity of lime and grapefruit, making it a very food friendly wine.
Pinot Gris 2017 – Harvested from grapes on Seneca Lake and a small plot on Keuka, this wine has a palate that is both lemony and bright, balancing out with the sweetness of tropical flavors.
Dry Riesling 2017 – fermented in stainless steel, the crisp lime-driven acidity enhances the distinct Keuka lake minerality…a wonderful wine with a long balanced finish.
Pinot Noir 2016 – Using estate grapes from Dr Frank’s original 1958 plantings and blended with a small amount of grapes from Seneca Lake where the fruit is riper, this wine was fermented in French oak barrels for 18 months and awarded 90 points by Wine Enthusiast.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – using grapes from Seneca Lake, this medium-bodied wine came as a result of difficult spring weather resulting in high sugars and excellent flavors. A moderately tannic wine that will age for several years.
Cabernet Franc 2016 – Harvested from estate grapes planted in 1980 on Keuka Lake, this lighter in color, medium intensity wine has soft earthy tannins that are balanced perfectly.
And—- a surprise red wine!
Please join us at the Hilton Harrisburg on Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. Not only should you meet the winemaker, but bring your questions and find out what the surprise wine will be! After tasting their magnificent wines, you too will be wanting to take a trip due north to visit the winery and taste the many additional wines in their portfolio!