Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Review
Address: 9749 Middle Rd. Hammondsport,New York 14840.
Phone Number: 607-868-4884
Tasting Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-5:00
Region: Finger Lakes AVA, New York
Reviewer: Caroline Helper
Review Date: 6/22/2012
Reviewer: Caroline Helper
Dr. Konstantin Frank was a Ukranian immigrant who is credited with successfully introducing Vitus vinifera varieties (grapes of European origin) to the region in the 1960s, reshaping the regions wine industry, and sparking a viticultural revolution.
The Place:  The modern day Dr. Franks is situated at the site of the regions viticultural revolution some 50+ years ago and right next to some of the oldest vineyards in the area. Dr. Franks wine cellars produce a vast array of wines from native grapes (Vitus Lambrusca) to European varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and some exceptional sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne. Dr. Frank, however, is also on the forefront of experimenting with obscure grapes from Siberia and Eastern Europe such as Rkatsiteli
The Experience:  A tasting at Dr. Franks is steeped in history. The people pouring at Dr. Franks are passionate, knowledgeable and friendly. This winery, one of the regions finest, is a fun place to go but in need of an update. The tasting room is tired and lacks any striking décor or design, and the exterior of the winery would be easy to miss from the road. That said, one does not come to Dr. Franks to bask in architecture or views though there are decent ones of Keuka Lake. Dr. Franks is a must-stop for anyone interested in the history of the region and who is looking for a more educational tasting.
The Wines:  Dr. Franks produces an impressive range of wines. Here, there are, of course, good Rieslings but there are also some wonderful off-the-beaten-path wines. The whites steal the show at Dr. Franks with lovely iterations of Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, and especially impressive sparkling wines made from Champagne grapes Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The Gruner Veltliner, Muscat, and Pinot Blanc are all great examples of the experimental approach to varieties at Dr. Franks, but, perhaps, the biggest success among this group is Rkatsiteli a weird but enormously pleasant wine made from an ancient and obscure grape.
Extras:  There really is no other winery like Dr. Franks in the region so steeped with history and so singularly responsible for sparking so much change. That said, however, there arent much in the ways of extras outside the tasting room. The views are lovely, the wine is good, and the company is pleasant. You can take a stroll through some of the winerys adjacent Chardonnay vineyards and be content knowing you are treading ground that is historically significant.
Insiders Tip:  Take advantage of the winerys unusual offerings and insist on trying the obscure and strange varieties that are used at Dr. Franks. If youve been in the region for a few days and your palate screams for a break from the regions racy Rieslings, Dr. Franks is a good place to stray from the usual. For those looking for a taste of the regions other wines those made from native grapes like Delaware and Niagara, you can pass Dr. Franks by.