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The Cellar: Great Spring Whites—Round Pond & Red Newt

Friday, April 11, 2014


We Americans tend to drink more red wines when it is cold out and an increasingly number of whites as the temperature rises. This goes for me as well, so I figured I would feature two fantastic whites that I have recently sampled both of which are available locally.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Round Pond, Rutherford, Napa Valley

This week’s first wine is a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. More specifically, it’s Round Pond’s 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford. The Round Pond Estate is owned and operated by the MacDonnell family who, besides from making delicious wines from the Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, also produces artisan olive oils and red wine vinegars on their 350+ acre sustainable farmed estate. The 2013 growing season was nearly perfect – no problem achieving full ripeness here. The all estate grown Sauvignon Blanc grapes for this wine were hand-harvested at three different times during the harvest season. This allowed the winemaker the opportunity to play around with the three different expressions of Sauvignon Blanc as sugar and acidity levels go up and down respectfully as the grapes ripen. After fermentation, which happened in 100% stainless steel, the wine spent 4 months aging on the lees before bottling. The result is a delicious dry wine filled with pears and peaches with ripe lemons dominating on the long finish. Solid, ripe Napa Sauvignon Blanc that is sure to please.

2012 ‘Circle’ Riesling, Red Newt Cellars, Finger Lakes, New York

This week’s second wine is a really delicious one from one of my favorite cool climate regions – New York’s Finger Lakes. It is the 2012 ‘Circle’ Riesling from Red Newt Cellars. Red Newt is one of the best wineries in the Finger Lakes in my opinion. This place is absolutely beautiful, their wines are fantastic (and still reasonably priced) and their bistro is super convenient and delicious. In 2011 Red Newt received Wine & Spirits Magazine's ‘Winery of the Year’ award highlighting, among other things, their outstanding portfolio of Rieslings. Red Newt produces a series of single vineyard Rieslings each expressing the unique ‘terriors’ of their Estate. They also produce the ‘Circle’ which is a Riesling blend sort of speak – a blend of Riesling sourced from several of Red Newt’s vineyard plots. Each batch was vinified separately with fermentation stopped at varying levels of sweetness. The different wines were then blended together to create the ‘Circle’. Most Riesling producers in the Finger Lakes uses the guidelines of the ‘International Riesling Foundation’, which takes sugar levels into account, as well as acid levels and ph values, when labeling the wine ‘dry’, ‘medium dry’, ‘medium sweet’, or ‘sweet’. I like this way of labeling Rieslings as the wine may have a lot of residual sugar in it, but if the acid levels are high enough it may not come across as sweet. I see the 2012 ‘Circle’ as a real crowd pleaser. Slightly sweet, this wine is brimming with ripe granny smith apple, honeysuckle with a delicious sour finish leaving you aching for another sip. This wine is available, among other places, at ESPC for $10.99.


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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