cool climate

2017 Vintage Release

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Momentum is the word that best describes where we are as a winery, and characterizes the 2017 vintage perfectly.  Coming off the heels of the stellar 2015 and 2016 vintages where the quality of our wines reached new heights, and the world seemed to be paying close attention, we knew that we needed to carry this energy through to the 2017 wines.  Now here we are, still rolling full speed ahead, ready to release our newest vintage.  These wines are alive; uncork a bottle and you’ll feel it.

2017 was our second vintage working in the new winery.  The pleasure in having our own space to work cannot be overstated. The flow and efficiency that we have in our simple structure is wonderful. 2017 also marked our seventh vintage.  Of course, each year we aim to become better at the work we do, and it seems that though the 2017 vintage had its challenges, overall it was a great success.  These wines represent joy, precision, and depth. We chose not to make Les Alliés Riesling or Les Alliés Pinot Noir this vintage, and de-classified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in the Classique, our most important wine.

A portion of the 2017 vintage wines are now available online and at the winery, including our Dry Riesling Classique, and two new single vineyard Rieslings: Peach Orchard Vineyard and Breakneck Creek Vineyard.  The remaining wines will be released throughout the summer and fall of this year. 

As always, thank you for coming along on this journey with us and for your steadfast support. We hope that you enjoy these wines as much as we do.

Louis, Rick & Justin
Dry Riesling Classique 2017
$19


2017 is a vintage epitomizing classicism and balance. The wines are crystalline and laden with freshness. -LB

Due to our focus on this narrow 8-mile stretch of slope on the southeast side which includes 13 of our 14 Riesling vineyards, this will be our first labeling under the Seneca Lake AVA. Our 2017 Classique was fermented and aged in neutral barriques (57%) and in stainless steel (43%). Candied lemon, apricot peel, Asian pear, and anise join with salinity to give impeccable freshness.
Peach Orchard Vineyard Dry Riesling 2017
$26


In a year as cold as 2017, the level of ripeness achieved by the Peach Orchard Vineyard is nothing short of wizardry. -LB

Planted in a former hub of fruit tree production, this aptly named site is the most fruit-focused of our Rieslings. Robust and round, it gives notes of quince paste, stony minerals, dried herbs, tangerine, and juicy peaches.


100 cases produced
Breakneck Creek Vineyard Dry Riesling 2017
$26


As the Breakneck Vineyard produced pure sense of place this year, it seemed important that we introduce it to you.  The wine offers up outstanding minerality and a tension driven by freshness that is magnified by the total lack of sugar in our wines. -LB

Our first year working with this site has already shown great promise. The dramatic landscape of Breakneck Creek—cliffs and waterfalls—carved from hard layers of shale echoes in the minerality of this wine. It is dense with flavors of tropical fruits, lemon tart, chamomile, and vanilla.

125 cases produced
Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling 2017
$26


Anticipated Release Date: Fall 2018

Leidenfrost encapsulates this history of wine growing and the quality it is capable of producing. -LB

One of our purist expressions of terroir on Seneca Lake, this mature shale-laden, “Grand Cru” site continues to merit a stand-alone bottling. Intensely focused, the 2017 yields notes of candied orange peel, mango and fresh mint.


250 cases produced
Pinot Noir Classique 2017
$26


Anticipated Release Date: Summer 2018

The 2017 Pinot Classique draws marvelous aromas of camphor, Middle Eastern spices, ripe strawberry and liquorice from the shale along our hillsides. Its balance and delicacy meld with natural roundness.  -LB

Hand-harvested fruit from our east Seneca Lake Pinot Noir vineyards were hand-sorted and partially (30%) whole-cluster pressed. Spontaneous fermentations with native yeasts were followed by additional barrel aging for ten months.
Rosé 2017
$17


Anticipated Release Date: Summer 2018

Same style, different site. The 2017 is our first Rosé with Pinot Noir from Sawmill Creek Vineyard. After 24 hours, the juice was bled off of the skins using the saignée method, resulting in the structured, savory style of rosé that we enjoy.
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Why do we make Pinot Noir?

(Sourced from our e-newsletter on Jan. 18, 2018)

2011, our first vintage of Pinot Noir. (Photo: Wendy Houseworth)

2011, our first vintage of Pinot Noir. (Photo: Wendy Houseworth)

Just about every week we have someone visit the winery for a tasting, and often one of their first questions is, "Why do you make Pinot Noir?” 

True, with with our variable weather patterns and cool, northerly climate, nothing is easy here; certainly not the fickle, seductive beauty known as Pinot.  But we have always had the confidence that if we chose the right sites, balanced the yields, worked with dedicated growers, and paid attention throughout the season, we could absolutely achieve excellence. Notice I have mentioned nothing about the winemaking, which must be watchful, disciplined and intensive. This past fall, Justin and I used our brain power and brute strength to figure out how to break through the foot-thick cap of grape skins to punch down our Pinots. Louis haranged us day and night about fermentation temperatures, and we bit our nails in suspense over whether our French barrels would arrive from Santa Rosa, California while it was burning from wildfires.  

Seneca Lake Pinot Noir truly excites us and gets us up in the mornings. We believe it is possible to translate our terroir into a sublime glass of Pinot. Some of the very factors that deter and stymy are those that have the potential to make our version so compelling. We continue our quest for finesse, delicacy, seduction and charm, and we invite you to come along on this journey. Such is our confidence in the variety here, that  in 2016 and 2017, we planted ten acres of Pinot on our home farm. With the help of our Vineyard Consultant, Phil Davis (Damiani Wine Cellars) and our vineyard team, which now includes Autumn Stoscheck from Eve’s Cidery, we look forward to raising our young vines in the most eco-friendly and balanced manner possible that they might tell you a brilliant Finger Lakes story one day.

If you like Burgundy, we think you will especially find our Pinots attractive. These are wines that reflect their delicate and gradual Finger Lakes ripening and their foundation in shale soils. They are alive, expressive and mysterious, unfolding at will. I'll be heading to Burgundy for inspiration and wisdom from the holy grail of Pinot Noir in just a week, so stay tuned for updates, and in the meantime, check out our newly released and rated Les Alliés 2015.

-RR