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.

2012 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards” – 89 points

The 2012 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards” comes in at just 8.6% alcohol but with 51 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is Red Newt’s only vineyard on the Western side of Seneca Lake, producing wines with “distinct orange and tangerine notes,” said winemaker Kelby Russell to me. Russell described this as a Kabinett style. It might also be a Spatlese for some. Either way, it is another beautifully balanced Riesling, with the sugar and acidity matching each other well. It may say 51 grams per liter of residual sugar–that’s a lot–but it doesn’t feel anywhere near that sweet. Elegant and sprightly, it has a vivacious feel, finishing with fruit and sugar melding into a tasty conclusion. It’s a nice performance if you like that off-dry style. There were 200 cases produced.

89 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2014 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards – The Big H” – 90 points

The 2014 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards – The Big H,” the second vintage of this bottling from 2008 vines, has 19 grams per liter of residual sugar and 11% alcohol. It’s a bit off-dry, but hardly sugary. Since this is not set for release until August 2017, call this a preview. At the moment this was not quite as convincing as the 2013, also reviewed, but I suspect that is mostly a function of its youth. It has the nice acidity I’ve come to expect from Red Newt, but despite its fine structure it is a bit mute. Not at all expressive just now, it has time to round into form. I suspect it will–and it should equal or surpass the 2013.

90 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2013 Semi-Dry Riesling – 90 points

The 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling comes in at 21 grams per liter of residual sugar and 11% alcohol. Says winemaker Kelby Russell: “Red Newt’s ‘core’ Semi Dry Riesling [is] a house style that trends more dry than most others in the region.” Indeed, this has a burst of sugar here and there, but it is subdued and seems to be classic Mosel off-dry style, with attention to fine balancing acidity that makes it easily useable as a table wine. Call it a nice Kabinett. If anything, it is even better than the 2013 Dry Riesling, reviewed this issue, and ultimately might satisfy a lot of people looking (mostly) for dry. Beautifully done, it is fresh, lively and very tasty. It will be interesting to see how it ages, but it will hold well for several years if you must. In the meanwhile, note that it is another terrific value from Red Newt. There were 440 cases produced.

90 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2012 Riesling “Sawmill Creek Vineyards – South Block” – 92 points

The 2012 Riesling “Sawmill Creek Vineyards – South Block” comes in at 7 grams per liter of residual sugar and 10.8% alcohol. The South block has 35-year-old vines and produces Riesling with “powerful acidity,” said winemaker Kelby Russell, making it an “outlier” in their lineup that needs more time to come around than the others. Acidity is certainly what this is about. Despite 7 grams per liter of residual sugar, it seems neither sweet nor even fruity and has way more intensity than the winery’s Riesling Reserve, also reviewed this issue, despite similar statistics on sugar and alcohol. This is simply stunning. It has that laser burst of acidity that many Riesling lovers adore, plus purity of fruit, clean and unadorned, and remarkable tension on the finish. Indeed, it was far more gripping the next day. The fresh and invigorating finish is marked with a touch of petrol and flint, which mostly blows off with aeration. As intense as it is, it can still actually be enjoyed on its own, although a food match will sure help. It has just enough fruit. On first taste, it did seem to have a slight hollowness in the mid-palate, but then it recovered as it aired. It will do more than just rattle your teeth with acidity. Granting that some may prefer the rounder and more balanced demeanor of the Reserve, or even the Sawmill Fred Block, this transparent Riesling is the most interesting of the wines submitted by Red Newt. Penetrating and focused, this is the mouthwatering winner. There were 175 cases produced.

92 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2014 Circle Riesling – 88 points

The 2014 Circle Riesling is Red Newt’s workhorse wine, but it is a very good value. It comes in with 28 grams per liter of residual sugar and 10.1% alcohol. Typically a blend of vineyards, this time it was sourced from a single tank sourced from Lahoma Vineyard. Like so many of the Finger Lakes’ better wineries, Red Newt over-delivers at the low end. This has a gloriously fresh feel despite the sugar, plus classic flavors and respectable tension on the finish. Clean, if on the lighter side, this overachieves in its youth. To be sure, it will not likely develop as well as the big boys. It may not stay at peak for all of its useful life. For the moment and no doubt the next several years, it offers a lot of value. There were 1,800 cases produced. This is set for August 1, 2016 release.

88 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2007 Gewurztraminer “Sawmill Creek Vineyards” – 88 points

The 2007 Gewurztraminer “Sawmill Creek Vineyards” comes in at 4 grams per liter of residual sugar and 13.8% alcohol. It is dry and powerful. This was on limited release for a few years, but is now fully released because it is said to be coming into full maturity. Surprisingly transparent, this isn’t quite as aromatic or as flavorful as I expected, lacking the intensity of either that great Gewurz can get. It is a step short in some ways, muttering Gewurz in muted tones, but not really declaring it. I suspect it has faded a bit with age. The late-release program may have been a bit too late. It is subtle and restrained, which may make some quite happy, noting Gewurz’s reputation as a love-it-or-leave-it grape. Happily, it is not bitter, either, despite the modest residual sugar. It even seems a touch fruity on the finish. Lingering reasonably on the finish, it tightens a bit more with air and warmth, but at this point, this Gewurz is all about balance and harmony. It is attractive in its understated way, but it is as good as it is going to get. Overall, this is easy to drink and easy to like, but for a little more intensity and typicity (but less harmony and balance), try the 2007 Curry Creek also reviewed this issue. There were 120 cases produced.

88 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2013 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards – The Big H” – 91 points

The 2013 Riesling “Lahoma Vineyards – The Big H” has 24 grams per liter of residual sugar and 10.9% alcohol. For all of that sugar, it is more about its balance and freshness than sweetness. It has citrus hints, what winemaker Kelby Russell called “orange fruit.” This is the first bottling of the 2008 vines previously used as a blending component. Floral, fresh and remarkably aromatic, this is a wine that is fun to just smell. Its acidity and aromatics are simply enlivening and invigorating. Set for August release, it looks like a winner that should hold reasonably well. Note that the “Big H” stands for Harlan, which the winery could not use due to a prior trademark. There were 120 cases produced.

91 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2009 Riesling “Davis Farms Vineyard” – 89 points

The 2009 Riesling “Davis Farms Vineyard” shows some petrol that mutes the Riesling aromatics and flavor somewhat, but it’s hard not to admire this for its fine concentration and structure. For all of the funk, this drinks beautifully, intense, focused and precise. It is classified as off-dry, but that mostly means that it is not austere or piercing. It is not exactly sugary, so don’t hesitate to use it as a table wine.

89 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2007 Gewurztraminer “Curry Creek Vineyards” – 88 points

The 2007 Gewurztraminer “Curry Creek Vineyards,” from a location close to Sawmill Creek, is bone dry and leaning to the austere–1 gram per liter of residual sugar and 14.7% alcohol. This was on limited release for a few years, but is now fully released because it is said to be coming into full maturity. Intense and powerful, this is laced with lychee notes and finishes with hints of bitterness, yet manages not to be harsh and overly austere, notwithstanding the modest sugar. Juicy and mouthwatering on the finish, this handles its alcohol pretty well, but it always seems to be a bruiser, more concentrated and more intense than its kinder, gentler (but more faded) sibling, the Sawmill Creek also reviewed this issue. Don’t hold either too long at this point.

88 points – #219, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

2013 Riesling “Tango Oaks Vineyard” – 91 points

The 2013 Riesling “Tango Oaks Vineyard” is not yet released (set for July 1), but it is at least as good as the 2012–and maybe better. It seems fresher and livelier, for one thing, and I don’t think that is merely a symptom of being a year younger. Simply gorgeous in aromatics and intensity of flavor, it may not quite have the concentration of the 2012, but it seems to do everything else better. Rather dry (just 5 grams per liter of residual sugar), its underlying acidity supports the fruit and pounds it into the palate. It’s a beauty.

91 points – #225, The Wine Advocate

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online