Chateau Frank Brut - a NY Sparkling Wine you need to know 1

Chateau Frank Brut – a NY Sparkling Wine you need to know

2010 Dr Konstantin Frank, Chateau Frank Brut, Finger Lakes Sparkling Wine

Wine of the Week with Annette Tomei

I recently attended an event featuring some of the top beverage producers from the state of New York (TasteNY). In the coming months, you’ll probably see at least a couple of the delicious treats I had the pleasure of tasting at this event. I’m starting with the one that surprised me most – it’s not unusual to find fine ciders, beers, and spirits coming from the Empire State, but bubbles? This is a first for me!

For those not familiar with the Finger Lakes region, it is in the center of New York State, comprised of five lakes each in shape of fingers in the shape of a hand. The Finger Lakes AVA is the largest in New York and has a climate comparable to Germany (hence the popularity of Rieslings in this area – some of the best are from this same producer). Dr Konstantin Frank is the first to produce wines from vitis vinifera in New York. Their wines are an integral part of winemaking history in New York State.

Why you should try Chateau Frank Brut |

When Champagne isn’t from Champagne

First, for clarity – when your bubbles aren’t from Champagne, they just aren’t – they are called many other things – for now, I’ll stick with “sparkling wine” and “bubbles”. The Chateau Frank Brut is made in the classic method, from the classic blending grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. After its second fermentation, it is aged on its lees for 5 years before being disgorged and sealed for distribution. Because the Finger Lakes AVA is a cool climate, as is Champagne, the fruit develops similar characteristics that lend well to this style of wine.

So, How Does it Taste

Initial aromas of yeasty bread and apple skin with a hint of almond are nice, but it was the rich velvety mousse that drew me in. The flavors of tart, ripe apples, lime, and a pinch of ginger finished with a clean minerality. At 12% ABV and nearly no residual sugar, this is a light, crisp, elegant wine with the finesse worthy of celebrating.

This wine is a great choice for toasting the most special of occasions. It is also an easy dinner companion able to pair with oysters and other seafoods, salty snacks, fresh-from-the-farmers’-market veggies, through to an entrée of roast chicken or grilled salmon.

The Verdict

Surprise your friends with something unexpected at your next occasion. At approximately $25/bottle Chateau Frank Brut is better than many at twice the cost. Also available: Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de noir, and rosé. Dr Konstantin Frank also makes some of the best Rieslings in the US… give them a try as well.


My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

Annette is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to She can be found at



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