Coming back east sure is a homecoming! When this wine was suggested to me from a co-worker, I was a bit nervous, but I have to say, I was genuinely impressed. Rkatsiteli (pronounced: "ra-kaht-sa-tell-ee") is a Vitis vinifera (European) grape variety that originated in Georgia. It is actually believed to be one of the oldest grapes known to man, found in old cement vessels 3000 to 5000 years ago in Georgia. It was especially popular in communist Russia, but many vines were uprooted during Gorbachev's rule.
(Photo from Google Images)
Known for it's high acidity, this white grape is very reminiscent of varietals like Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Dr. Konstantin Frank Wines in New York was the first winery to plant and produce Rkatsiteli in the U.S. However other wineries, like Horton Vineyards in Virginia are also producing Rkatsiteli today. I hope you enjoy this tasting as much as I did. :)
2008 Rkatsiteli by Dr. Konstantin Frank
(Photo from Google Images)
The D-2010 Scale
2008 Rkatsiteli by Dr. Konstantin Frank Wines (Finger Lakes, NY)
Appearance (10 points possible): pale, yellow color, clear - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Tropical, guava, floral, vanilla, butter cream, apple sauce, citrus. - 18 points
Taste (10 points possible): Citrus flavors up front, crisp acidity, glycerol-like character in the finish with hints of guava flavor. A slight yeasty after-taste. - 6 points
Balance (5 points possible): The acidity sticks out in this wine, but its characteristic of this variety. - 4 points
Finish (5 points possible): A nice long finish with a strong guava note. I really liked this part of it, but I didn't enjoy the yeasty aftertaste that lingered if you weren't continuously sipping wine. - 3 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible): Dark brown glass, traditional wine label and white capsule. Natural cork. - 5 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible): Dr. Konstantine Frank's wine label is traditional - it's still the same thing it was several years ago. I guess this is supposed to represent the heritage of winery and in honor of Dr. Frank himself. But when it's put on a shelf with a ton of other wines, it doesn't stick out to me. So I have to dock it some points here... - 6 points
Other (5 points possible): Nothing major to point out here, so no major docking in points. - 5 points
Total Points: 87 points
Overall Thought: This was my first time having Rkatsiteli and I have to admit that I was a bit surprised. I'm not an avid Riesling drinker, so I wasn't expecting much from this wine, but again, I really enjoyed it. (My point deduction was primarily contributed to the wine label... which I actually missed until someone else pointed it out to me.) But this was a nice floral, fruity, lightly spicy white wine. Perfect on a hot summer day or as a general-pleaser for a large crowd.
Food Pairings: We drank this wine with bread and cheeses. Yum... The acidity is crisp enough that it can cut fatty foods. Definitely recommend something fatty with this. Foie grase for those sophisticates out there!
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 2 - this is a bit pricier than I typically put up here, but get used to it readers. On the east, when you buy local, you pay local. I like supporting the eastern enological industry, so I'll put the money out for bottles like this.
Where to buy: I found this wine at the PA Wine & Spirits store, so I'm not going to be very good at locating distributors for wines right now. Check out Dr. Frank's Wines or your local wine store for purchasing.