Adventures in Riesling at Red Newt

Early on when I was just getting into wine in my early 20s, Red Newt Winery’s Riesling was one of my go to wines. While I’m not drinking sweeter Rieslings anymore, I still love the lineup of Dry Rieslings that they have (though interestingly, you’ll see my favorite from the day wasn’t actually Riesling…)

About Red Newt Winery

Red Newt Cellars, located on the east side of Seneca Lake, was founded in 1998 by David and Debra Whiting. Their production began with small batches of Chardonnay, Riesling, Vidal, Cayuga, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and they released their first wine in 1999. Today, Red New Winery is renowned not just for the wine, but for their incredible bistro. The goal was to make great wine, delicious food, and create harmony between them.

Red Newt Cellars is interesting, in a similar way to Hickory Hollow, where the winemaker has their own line of wine that you can sample. Owner and founding winemaker David, wanted to give their winemaker Kelby James Russell an opportunity to be creative. Now, you can sample his wines alongside Red Newt’s to see the difference.

Tasting at Red Newt

We started off the tasting with the winemaker’s own label, Kelby James Russell 2016 Dry Rosé. The nose begins with strawberry and watermelon with some vegetal hints and there is a clean grapefruit and lime acidity on the palate.

From here we kicked off a Riesling tasting to sample their dry selection.

Tierce 2013 Riesling is fascinating wine made through the combined efforts of three wineries: Red Newt, Fox Run and Anthony Road. It has notes of melon, clementine, candied lime and loads of minerality with a nice green apple acidity.

The Tango Oaks Vineyard 2013 Riesling has a nose of grapefruit, apple, and a ripe peach and mineral taste on the palate. There is a nice earthiness, the minerality is bright and there is a refreshing acidity.

In comparison, the Lahoma Vineyards 2013 Riesling is more peachy in the nose and has a lovely clementine scent. There is a mid-plus acidity and a hint of sweetness that balances well with the clementine notes.

The Knoll 2013 Riesling is made from a special section of the Lahoma Vineyard and has a nose of orange blossom and citrus, with grapefruit on the palate, and a nice clean acidity. It is a fun variation on the Lahoma and is delightful.

After all that Riesling, we tried our favorite wine of the day, the Cabernet Franc 2016. This is an unoaked Cabernet Franc, which means it has been aged in stainless steel. The nose begins with notes of cranberry and cherry, with a little spiciness and smokiness. On the palate it has a mild chalky tannin, nice acidity, and lingering notes of cranberry.


Planning Your Visit

Hours: They are open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Tasting Fees: $5 for six wines.

Group Tastings: Reservations are suggested for groups larger than eight and required for groups larger than 12.

Wine Prices: The wine by the bottle ranges from $11.50 for the Circle Riesling to mid-$40s for their older red wines.

Other Amenities: The Red Newt Bistro serves lunch daily and offers a happy hour on Friday. They also have a wine paired cheese board for two that sounds incredible. If you’re not up for a full lunch, they have a coffee bar with snacks as well.

Final thoughts

We had so much fun tasting at Red Newt. The staff was engaging, sharing their own favorites and tasting notes, suggesting interesting wines to try side by side, and discussing what foods they would pair with wine. Also, I got to meet an Instagram buddy in real life- Hi, Sarah!


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