Dr. Konstantin Frank Célèbre Takes Best of Show
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) held its 15th annual wine competition August 10 and 11 at the Marriott Tysons Corner, VA. This year’s Best of Show wine, Dr. Konstantin Frank Célèbre (n/v), was selected from twenty-six Best of Category Winners. ASWA’s Wine Competition is the largest in the nation focused exclusively on East Coast wines. This year 15 judges evaluated 422 diverse wines made in the eastern US.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Sparkling Célèbre (n/v) is a sparkling Finger Lakes AVA riesling made with estate-grown grapes from the shale-dominant Keuka Vineyard. Grapes were hand-picked and only the gentle first pressing was used in this cuvee. The sparkler was made in the traditional champagne method, wherein the secondary fermentation that produces fine bubbles takes place in each individual bottle. It is cremant in style, that is, slightly sweet, with notes of apple, honey and spice.
Meaghan Frank, the 4th generation of the Frank family at the helm of this great American winery, says, “We’ve been making the Célèbre Sparkling Riesling for nearly 30 years now, it was the brainchild of my grandfather Willy Frank and has become our most popular sparkling wine in our lineup. We couldn’t be more thrilled about winning the ‘Best of Show’ from the prestigious Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition.”
Though labeled a non-vintage, all the juice for this particular bottling came from the 2016 vintage. Dr. Frank’s Sparkling Winemaker Eric Bauman gives more background on the winner: “The 2016 vintage was one of the hottest, sunniest, and driest we can remember, making this release of Célèbre particularly special. The grapes enjoyed a long growing season allowing them to develop with greater concentration. The Célèbre combines exactly what we do best, sparkling + Riesling here in the Finger Lakes.”
The 2019 ASWA Wine Competition issued 51 gold medals, 139 silver medals and 166 Bronze medals. Competition Chairman Dave Barber says, “A panel of well-qualified independent judges from various levels within the industry, and hailing from several east coast states and from as far afield as California, evaluated red and rosé wines on day one, and whites on day two.” The final round, after scores were tallied for all Best of Category entries, took place Sunday afternoon.
ASWA hosts an awards ceremony on Capitol Hill every year after the completion of the competition under the auspices of the Congressional Wine Caucus. The perpetual Jefferson Loving Cup, designed by Tiffany in sterling silver, will be engraved with the winning winery’s name and presented to the Best of Show winner.
Winning wines will be showcased at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CA, the leading wine industry conference and trade show typically drawing 15,000 attendees. The wines generally receive coverage on several west coast radio programs while ASWA representatives are in California, and a seminar and tasting at UC Davis is being planned. Opportunities for increased exposure will continue throughout the year. ASWA President Grant Crandall states, “We are excited to have a number of superb wines from the Competition to take around the country to demonstrate that East Coast wines can compete successfully on an international scale.”
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association promotes American wine produced in the seventeen eastern states: all those that touch the Atlantic Ocean plus West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont. This trade organization was founded in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, and renamed in 2008 to reflect an expanded regional focus.
ASWA’s mission is to increase awareness of the fine wines of the Atlantic seaboard through trade and consumer education. Members liaise with national, state, and regional wine organizations to identify opportunities to highlight the wines and winemakers working here.