We start the new year with five outstanding wines that highlight the diversity and excitement of the bottles we have to choose from. These include two from a producer on a small island in the Bay of Naples, examples from the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux that punch above their price, and a delightful riesling from one of the pioneers of the Finger Lakes.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Semi-Dry Riesling 2017
Finger Lakes, New York, $18
Konstantin Frank was a pioneer in growing European vinifera grape varieties in New York’s Finger Lakes region. The winery is now owned by his grandson, Fred Frank, and continues to set a high standard in what is now a crowded field. This riesling is just sweet enough to give it fruity lushness to match a wide variety of foods, including spicy dishes; its acidity keeps it balanced. Finger Lakes semi-dry riesling reminds me of Sprite with a kick. That’s a simplification, of course, but the lemon-lime citrus flavors are apparent here. ABV: 12%.