My post last week about American Airlines deciding to pour a couple New York wines on cross-country flights stirred up quite a discussion in the comments.
The question was: we the Dr. Konstantin Frank wine included really a New York wine?
I decided to go right to the source, sending an email to Frederick Frank, president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars. I asked him flat out about the origins of the grapes that go into the Salmon Run line of wines.
Here's his response and although he didn't address the riesling's orgins directly, I think we can read between the lines.
First let me say that American Airlines did not order the Salmon Run Riesling. When they were soliciting samples we did not have many wines available so we only sent them a sample of the Salmon Run Cold Brook White which they approved. This is a White Wine blend which changes from year to year. It often includes Chardonnay, Riesling and Muscat.
The 2004 and 2005 vintages in the Finger Lakes were affected by the record cold winters we had back to back. As a result of this disaster the N.Y. Dept. of Agriculture and Markets gave special permission to the NY Farm Wineries to allow them to purchase grapes and juice out of state to supplement their smaller NY grape crop. The record cold temperatures did more than just effect two years crop but had longer term effects with many dead vines and damaged trunks which will take several years for our industry to recover from. A number of Finger Lakes wineries took advantage of this ruling from the N.Y. Dept. of Ag. & Mkts. and purchased out of state grapes, juice and wines to add to their smaller NY production. In addition, other NY wineries changed their winery licenses from Farm Winery to Commericial Winery allowing to them to purchase out of state grapes, juice and wine.
We at Dr. Frank's were able to maintain Finger Lakes or New York appellations on all our premium wines under the Dr. Konstantin Frank and Chateau Frank labels. Only on our value line, Salmon Run, did we diversify into three categories; Finger Lakes, New York, and no appellation. These depended on the supply of grapes for each label.
For example on the Salmon Run Meritage and Salmon Run Cabernet Franc we used Finger Lakes appellations because we had sufficient grapes to supply them. In the wines that had no appellation we could not meet the minimum 85% threshold of Finger Lakes grapes to maintain that appellation. In many cases these wines are blends of out of state and NY grapes.
Thankfully 2006 was a normal grape crop for the Finger Lakes and the 2007 winter was normal which hopefully will result in a normal grape crop. This will allow us to return to more and more Finger Lakes and New York appellations on our future Salmon Run releases.
We are excited about the quality of our 2006 wines just being released. In the current press release from the NYWGF, the results of the New World International Wine Competition were announced. The Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling, Dry, 2006, Finger Lakes received a gold medal and the Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli, 2006, Finger Lakes, received a gold medal and Best In Class Trophy. These wines were just recently bottled and will certainly get better with some additional bottle aging.
We are so excited about the quality of the 2006 vintage that we are hoping to repeat as, "Winery of the Year", in 2007. We won this award in 2006 from the New York Wine Classic competition for winning the most awards of any N.Y. winery.
President, Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars