Earlier this week, I introduced you to Windham Vineyards and the unique hybrid grape St. Pepin. Today, I've got another new-to-me grape to talk about: Frontenac Gris.
Wikipedia doesn't have a specific listing for Frontenac Gris (just Frontenac), but I was able to dig up a little information about it on the University of Minnesota site (where it was developed):
Frontenac gris, the white wine version of Frontenac, started as a single bud mutation yielding gray (thus named gris) fruit and amber-colored juice. The vine exhibits the same optimum growth characteristics as Frontenac, and requires the same cultural practices. Arching canes and minimal tendrils provide easy training and pruning to simplify vine management. In Minnesota, Frontenac and Frontenac gris ripen in late mid-season, and are good sugar producers with 24-25° Brix not uncommon.
Frontenac is a crossing of the Landot 4511 hybrid and a very cold hardy selection of Vitis riparia. It was released in 1996. Apparently, if you leave the juice on the skins for a while, you can make a rose with it.
This Windham Vineyards 2008 Estate Select Frontenac Gris ($15) wasn't made in that style. Instead, winemaker James Bateman made a medium-bodied, semi-sweet wine with good acidity.
The nose shows a lot of pineapple with a little bit of underripe peach. Like I said, it starts off a bit too sweet on the palate, but there is enough acidity to keep it from being syrupy. Simple pineapple and other tropical fruit flavors are a vaguely reminiscent of Vignoles (as is the acidity). The finish is surprisingly long and not as sweet as I expected.
This is another interesting wine made from an interesting grape. With that acid, sugar and the flavors, I think a late harvest/ice wine made from Frontenac Gris might be delicious.
Producer: Windham Vineyards
AVA: Hudson River Region
Rating: (2 out of 5 | Average)