All posts by rednewt

Our passion. Our story.

Red Newt Cellars is a top producer of life-changing Finger Lakes Riesling.  Founded in 1998, Red Newt wines have garnered national and international acclaim for decades.

Founding winemaker David Whiting and winemaker Kelby Russell share their perspectives…

I’ve been making wines in the Finger Lakes since the 80’s. Back then, we worked really hard. We helped each other out, we collaborated, we pulled each other up by our bootstraps to make the best wine that we could.

When I think of what makes Riesling producers special, it’s that. Maybe it’s because we feel like we’re underdogs whereas Riesling, whether its Germany, whether its the Finger Lakes, people who make Riesling love the grape and love wherever it comes from and don’t really prejudge what’s the best and what’s the worst.

Red Newt’s been around for about 18 years. We started very small and made the best wines that we possibly could. And our focus now is primarily on Riesling… 75% of what we produce is Riesling.

I love Riesling. And I love it for more than just what is in the glass. I love it because to me it represents a place. Each vineyard has its own personality. Each vineyard has its own soul. And when I can taste the wine and make the connection between that place, it’s truly magical.

Tango oaks is a really remarkable vineyard site for us. The soil type is driven by stones… more grave, more stones than we would expect to see anywhere else in the Finger Lakes.

From a winemaking standpoint it is rewarding to work with.

I think of Lahoma and I think a site that, even though it is due across the lake from us,

I think of as our home site. It kind of exemplifies why you need to be so patient in the vineyard and pay attention to the vineyard. Every year the nuances of the vineyards we work with totally changes.

And we have an idea from being out in the vineyard a lot of what to expect, but the joy of winemaking is the surprise.

I think of Red Newt as one of the great Riesling estates in the world. And I think we’re on that stage: One, because we want to be, because we value that sort of achievement of excellence. And two, because we really actively compare ourselves and talk to the other producers that we look up to around the world.

Our commitment is unwavering. The Finger Lakes has a story around Riesling that is yet to written, and this is a story for us to write.

2012 Gewürztraminer Curry Creek Vineyard 86

Like the Pinot Gris from the same vineyard and vintage, this is a seriously ripe wine that is a bit lacking in terms of finesse and energy. Though more successful than the Pinot Gris, it is still too rich for my tastes. The nose is intensely floral, with tropical fruit accents. The palate is soft and broad, with low acidity and 17 grams of residual sugar. A phenolic edge on the finish adds interest. 17 grams per liter residual sugar.
— Kelli White  86   reviewed Jul 2016   Visit Vinous.com

2015 Late Harvest Riesling (90-93)

Deep, bright gold in hue. This Beerenauslese style wine was produced from botrytis-infected bunches that were picked in the second half of November. The nose is gorgeous, offering super sweet apricot, white flowers, white tea leaves, warm spice cake, and pineapple. The texture is extremely concentrated and unctuous, with a sweet core of tropical fruit that coats the palate and lingers well into the finish. The acidity is modest but does its job, adding definition to the billowing palate. (tank sample)
— Kelli White  (90-93)   reviewed Jul 2016   Visit Vinous.com

2015 Riesling Lahoma Vineyard The Knoll (89-91)

A riper, more tropical expression of Riesling, this talkative wine displays a beautiful nose of papaya, crushed flowers, canned pears and pineapple. The palate is quite weighty, with a rich core of juicy stone fruits and a low-toned, stony quality running beneath. While there is sweetness, this is ultimately a dry wine, albeit a lush one. (tank sample)
— Kelli White  (89-91)   reviewed Jul 2016   Visit Vinous.com

2014 Riesling The Knoll – Lahoma Vineyards 95

An extraordinary wine, this is Finger Lakes dry Riesling at its finest. The nose is an exotic combination of kefir lime, lemon candy, mint, and thyme. The palate is just as expressive as the nose, offering a perfect balance between flesh and acid—rather than one swelling as the other dwindles, they march in sync from entry through to finish. A wine of remarkable intensity and purity, the 2014 The Knoll concludes with an epic finish of tremendous mineral depth. 5 grams per liter residual sugar.
— Kelli White  95   reviewed Jul 2016   Visit Vinous.com