Red Newt Cellars is, as it’s named, not a vineyard. It is a cellar where the winemaker receive grapes from small exclusive producers around Seneca lake (mainly east side). It is not a co-op. It was established roughly 20years ago and the new young winemaker, Kelby, is in charge of the winemaking since 2013.
They produce a big majority of Riesling but also have Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Niagara, Cabernet franc and sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot noir. Here indigenous yeasts lead the fermentation.
Kelby is one of those winemakers who has travelled a lot and brought back with him a lots of experience and different point of view about winemaking. He strongly believe that wine needs time to develop and express itself. In this way, for example, some cuvée wait one year in bottle before to be on the market.
The wines here have various styles, from australian style Riesling really fruity and pure to german style Riesling mineral and really complex with some petrol notes. Gewürztraminer are full of leechy, it is like to bit the fruit litteraly ! Reds are fruity, juicy for some and subtil, elegant and complex for other as the Pinot noir.
We had the chance to go on a « verticale » of the Riesling Tango oaks cuvée. From 2013 to 2016. Here what was interesting was to feel the vintage effect which is really impacting in the Finger Lakes and also the change of winemaking between 2014 and 2015 so the style of wine. 10 months of lees ageing in stainless tank. White peach, grapefruit, pineapple, thaï basil drive the nose and the mouth is deliciously crispy!
We also tasted experimental stuff as a fortified Merlot and a fortified Gewürztraminer, delightful!
Thirsty to know more? Go check their website!