Ever had a bottle of wine from New York? Many of us mostly know American wines by Californian standards, but the state of New York is actually the third largest producer of wine in the US, after California and Washington. Vines were planted here early in the 17th century, but commercial production first picked up about 200 years later.
Americans are devoted to doing things their own way, and wine production is no exception. That’s why you’ll find a great variety of hybrid grapes in the US, and especially in New York. Catawba, Delaware, Niagara, Elvira, Ives and Isabella are some examples.
But the wines recognized as the best from New York are nevertheless made from traditional varieties, with Riesling and Chardonnay dominating.
Our wine of the week is made from a French grape, mostly grown in Bordeaux; Cabernet Franc. Here it’s mainly used as a blending grape and rarely used 100%. Even more rare is it to use this grape 100% in Finger Lakes, New York. This got my attention.
It’s made by Red Newt Cellars Winery & Bistro, located about a 5 hours drive inland west from Manhattan. It was founded by Debra and David Whiting in 1998, with first vintage sold in their bistro the year after. David made the wine and Debra ran the bistro.
Their small operation quickly gained reputation and were among the US top 100 wineries in 2011.
David gave the reigns of winemaking to Kelby Russel in 2014, who is behind our wine of the week.
The 2020 Cabernet Franc is made in line with Loire traditions, rather than Bordeaux. Focusing on bringing out the herbal expression and good concentration in the fruit, with good acidity. A very well made wine at a great price.