- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

Dr. Konstantin Frank, Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2003, $16

Riesling is one of the world’s greatest white wine grapes. When grown in appropriate locales and tended with care, it can yield riveting wines that range in style from lusciously sweet to mouthwateringly dry.

Unfortunately, most American viticultural areas, especially the famous ones in California, prove unsuitable because they are too warm. That’s why American Riesling so often disappoints rather than enthralls.

It doesn’t disappoint, however, when it comes from cooler regions — parts of Washington state, for example, or the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Vineyards planted on the shores of those lakes produce some of the country’s best Rieslings, wines that truly hold their own with fine German and Alsatian renditions.

Dr. Konstantin Frank, a Ukrainian emigre, pioneered Finger Lakes Riesling in the 1960s, and the winery that carries his name continues to make some of the region’s finest wines. They are now available in the Washington market.

This Riesling is delectably dry. It smells faintly floral, with a mineral-scented undertone and fruit flavors reminiscent of peaches, apples and fresh citrus. A beautiful before-dinner choice, it also will pair well with smoked fish, poultry and entree salads.

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