R- what?? ar-kat-TSEE-tel-ee, let’s call it R-Cat, for short. This is one of the world’s oldest known vinifera grapes, which is clearly part of its appeal for me. This grape was probably first grown in Transcaucasia, in the lands of what is now the Republic of Georgia, and in what was likely the earliest wine-producing region. It is now grown in much of Eastern Europe, and can be found in the States on both the East and West coast. Expect to see more of this grape in the future, as it is grown in one of the most quickly rising wine scenes: China.
Rkatsiteli has a home in the Finger Lakes region of New York, at Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars (Dr. K Frank, for short). The first Dr. K immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe, where he had learned a thing or two about cold-weather grapes. He planted Rkatsiteli, and the wine is still produced there.
The wine made from this grape is inevitably described as “crisp” and “citrusy”, which leads to its comparison to Riesling and Gewurtztraminer. Yet wine from this grape often has another descriptor, “characterful”, that distinguishes it from those other grapes.
The 2008 from Dr. K Frank is no exception to the above description, but it has so, so much more. The nose is aromatic with tangerines, bread, and white flowers. There is soft pear, nectarine, and fresh white pepper. There are fresh herbs and minerals, and that wonderful quality of “bracing acidity” that is so common to some of the best Rieslings.
The winemaker asserts that the wine has some edamame notes, and who are we to argue? Anyway, sometimes tasting is all about the power of suggestion. Let us know if you can taste the edamame.
But, beyond all of its fruit, herb, spice, and mineral, one of this wine’s finest and most intriguing quality’s is its “presence”. It tastes of earth, and life, and history.
We are thrilled to be serving this by the glass. Davaj!