Category Archives: Wine Advocate

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has offered some of the most influential commentary on wine ever. We’re proud to the be the topic of recent reviews of the Finger Lakes.

2013 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards – The Knoll” – 88 points

The 2013 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards – The Knoll” is the first vintage of this bottling. It has been seen before, but it is worth another look. Its structure is lovely, but the petrol/sulfur is a fairly significant overlay at this point. It certainly mars the performance here. Winemaker Kelby Russell said to me that he thought this would blow off–and it might. I’ve seen it move in that direction before. That said, it is worthwhile at the moment exercising a little caution. It should be entitled to a notable uptick.

88 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

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2012 Riesling “Bullhorn Creek Vineyard” – 90 points

The 2012 Riesling “Bullhorn Creek Vineyard” comes in at 10 grams per liter of residual sugar and 11.2% alcohol. This, said winemaker Kelby Russell, is planted with Clone 90 and is at a higher-altitude vineyard than Sawmill or Tango Oaks vineyards; it ripens approximately two weeks later. Showing dry but not teeth-shattering, this is a beautifully focused Riesling with reasonable depth, impeccable balance and a stone-washed feel to it. While it does have that reasonable depth and subtle concentration, the principal impression here is one of elegance. It seems beautifully constructed, never heavy, never intrusive, yet always persistent. Fresh and full, it is the perfect food wine, but it is also just fruity enough to drink on its own. It touches the bases well. There were 200 cases produced.

90 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

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2006 Riesling Reserve – 90 points

The 2006 Riesling Reserve was from a cool vintage, according to owner David White. It certainly seems that way. It has intense acidity, some grapefruit eccentricity on the finish and even more acidity. That said, the mid-palate isn’t so bad either. It is nicely concentrated. If this is austere, perhaps even slightly shrill when too cold, there is plenty of fruit, too. It badly needs food. It is very youthful, very dry and quite piercing.

90 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

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2012 Riesling “Sawmill Creek Vineyards – Fred Block” – 93 points

The 2012 Riesling “Sawmill Creek Vineyards – Fred Block,” seen before, is coming along just fine. It comes in at 16 grams per liter of residual sugar and 10% alcohol. Showing more transparency now as it unwinds, this also is increasingly complex. Classy and big, it doesn’t sacrifice its concentration or tension. It will be interesting to see if this continues to develop over the next few years. I think it will–and it should continue to unwind.

93 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

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2013 Gewurztraminer – 86 points

The 2013 Gewurztraminer is the sweetest of the Gewurzs here, at 9 grams per liter of residual sugar, a more “consumer-friendly style (if such a thing exists),” said winemaker Kelby Russell. It comes in at 13.1% alcohol. At 9 grams per liter it actually still seems reasonably dry, so this is still easily a table wine. That’s not really the issue so much as its gentle style and modest concentration. Nuanced with some of that classic Gewurz lychee flavor, it seems just average in mid-palate concentration, although solidly enough built for this modest price range. On opening, it is pretty nice. It marches down the middle of the road, with a hint of something distinctive here and there, while not quite seeming to project Gewurz in full flight. Everything is toned down. It does not benefit from any aeration or warmth and it becomes less interesting, in fact. In fairness, considering the modest price point, the quibbles here can be overlooked. It is a nice picnic or on-the-porch white and a reasonable value. There were 574 cases produced, the workhorse of the Gewurz production here.

86 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

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2012 Riesling “Sawmill Creek Vineyards – North Block” – 91 points

The 2012 Riesling “Sawmill Creek Vineyards – North Block” is a much sweeter style (a Spatlese, said winemaker Kelby Russell) than its South Block sibling reviewed this issue. It comes in with a hefty 67 grams per liter of residual sugar and just 7.2% alcohol. On opening, this by far was the least impressive of the Sawmill trio featured this issue because it didn’t quite balance the sugar on opening as well as some of the others. This is more or less my preferred style, but it just didn’t seem to execute it as well. Of course, the sugar content is rather high here and it’s not meant to seem dry. That said, it was just plain delicious, but nothing more. Somewhat to my surprise, this blossomed with a couple of hours of air, integrating its sugar far better while still seeming persistent, crisp and relatively full-bodied. At this point, the acidity took over, enlivened the wine and provided rather impressive tension on the finish. The balance became far more interesting, far more classic Mosel, with the acidity waging war with the sugar. The Day 2 rating, in other words, was a lot higher; it seemed far simpler on first taste. Every time I thought that, it proved me wrong. This is another winner in this lineup, easy to like, but also easy to admire.

91 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

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2013 Circle Riesling – 88 points

The 2013 Circle Riesling comes in with 33 grams per liter of residual sugar and 10.2% alcohol. The largest volume (5,400 cases) wine in the winery’s stable, this blend of vineyards aims for an entry-level, “light Kabinett” style like Loosen’s Dr. L, said winemaker Kelby Russell. Well, whatever it is aiming for, it succeeds on many levels, including being a terrific value. Beautifully balanced and classically structured, it is indeed sweet on the end, but there are also plenty of typical Riesling flavors and just enough tension on the finish. Never sloppy sweet, it is still easy to like for its juicy and very tasty finish. At $12, this is pretty much a can’t-miss steal. It doesn’t have quite the intensity or definition of some of the upper level bottlings, but it is pretty well done. It will do best on the younger side, but I won’t be surprised if it also surprises in how well it ages.

88 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

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2015 ll & Red Newt Cellars Dry Rosé “Kelby James Russell” – 88 points

The Dry Rosé “Kelby James Russell” is a very dry Cabernet Franc with just one gram per liter of residual sugar and 11.8% alcohol. Sourced from Nutt Road Vineyard on the Northwest side of Seneca Lake, this pink is a notably green wine with a raspberry tart finish. The acidity, the bell pepper and broccoli combine to make this interestingly different, but it won’t necessarily be the mainstream choice. It also isn’t the pink to pick for a picnic or a porch. It desperately needs a food match. I liked it, but it does require some palate adjustment. It’s closer to a red, cool-climate Cab Franc with lots of green than a Rosé at times. If you like the style, it is a good value. Notes: This label is a collaboration between Red Newt and its winemaker, Kelby Russell, as “an outlet for Kelby to work on wine styles that particularly interested him and that did not fit into Red Newt’s portfolio.” It can be ordered on the website indicated at the end of this note or Red Newt’s website. Just bottled at the end of January, this was scheduled for release about one month later. There were 420 cases produced.

88 points – #224, The Wine Advocate

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2014 Dry Riesling – 90 points

The 2014 Dry Riesling has 6 grams per liter of residual sugar and 11.8% alcohol. Classic, transparent and fresh, this opens tight and a bit closed, but it is gripping on the finish with fine tension. Precise, focused, solid in the mid-palate for the style and just a little austere, this will likely drink a lot better next year, but it is a beauty in the making. It is also a fine value, another great example of how FLX tends to over-deliver in this category. This will be released on August 1.

90 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

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2012 Riesling “Tango Oaks Vineyard” – 91 points

The 2012 Riesling “Tango Oaks Vineyard” has been seen before, but it’s worth another look because it has come along rather brilliantly. Having acquired a bit more flesh with time, it also shows off its power now. It opens a bit burly, but that’s not all. It is fresh and transparent and has simply blossomed. It has beautiful fruit.

91 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

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