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 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

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

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

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

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

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

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

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

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

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

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

Visit Robert Parker Wine Advocate online

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