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April 06, 2009


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Is that ABV correct? I don't recall seeing 14.1 from a NY white before.

Nice review -- spot on, in my experience.

Evan: That's what I have in my notes...but I may have made a mistake. I know that the Curry Creek Gewurzt is up around 14% as well, so maybe that is where that came from.

The ABV at 14.1% is correct.

These Pinot Gris grapes were harvested from John Santos' "Curry Creek Vineyard" in Lodi, NY (about 3 miles from Red Newt). John is one of the most skilled and passionate growers that I know, with a particular penchant for Alsatian varieties. His 6 acre vineyard, which is comprised solely of Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, is perfectly situated and managed.

I have made a handful Pinot Gris wines over the years and have previously shared a bit ambivalence to the wines I have made. In 2007, the vintage presented the opportunity for us to "push the envelope" of ripeness of both Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Harvesting in late October at very high maturity (23.7Brix 5.8g/l TA 3.2pH) gave me a first opportunity to see this side of the personality of Pinot Gris in the Finger Lakes. The slightly higher alcohol and soft acidity offer a bit of an expression of sweetness in an otherwise dry (0.4%RS) wine. And the mature fruit presents an array of aromas that I find to be ethereal. This truly was one of my "Aha" wines when it comes to this variety. I'm glad that you shared some of my enthusiasm.
David Whiting
winemaker, co-owner
Red Newt Cellars Winer & Bistro

Dave - Thanks for clearing that up. 2007 could be the year that we'll look back and remember that Curry Creek began to stand out as one of the Finger Lakes' truly special sites.

To Dave Whiting:

I have a weakness for dry Alsatian Muscats (which are pretty rare in the US, even in good shops). Any chance you (or someone else) might give this a try in the FL? I know McGregor's does one but I've never been impressed.


The Muscat that grows here in the Finger Lakes is Muscat Ottonel, originally bred in France's Loire region. It has very little true Muscat perfume, as you have discovered. Jancis Robinson describes its wines as "vapid" and "mousy". To be honest, I don't see why we have any in the ground here.

I made a decent Keuka Lake Muscat Ottonel with 5% late harvest vignoles and Riesling lees, as an off dry aperitif wine.

It was probably the late harvest vignoles that made it interesting! The Muscat situation is interesting: I think they can grow the Muscat Ottonel in Alsace, but also the Muscat blanc a Petits Grains, which I belive is the better grape. But I've had a few nice Muscat wines from Austria, which were likely the Ottonel, so it doesn't always produce vapid wines.

i rather like sheldrake point's pinot gris. nice full mouthfeel. the winemaker told me that they have changed the winemaking a bit (less sur lie, maybe? i don't remember) in their 2008, but the 2007 is lovely.

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