By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief


David Whiting's single-vineyard program at  Red Newt Cellars, where he is winemaker and co-owner, bears watching.

Sure, the wines are priced too high for daily drinking — the cab francs, merlot and Gewurztraminers are all around $40. But, these are small-production wines that display nicely the difference that vineyard site can make in finished wines.

Maybe they are a bit geeky in that way, but the wine inside is sure to appeal to any wine lover. Still, it's fun to taste the two cab francs or the two Gewurztraminers side-by-side. Really interesting.

Busting with black cherries, violets and earthy tobacco leaf, the nose on the Red Newt Cellars 2007 Sawmill Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc ($39) shows light smoky oak, spice and subtle herbal-eucalyptus notes in the background as well.

Medium-bodied, the impeccably balanced palate welcomes a bit of plum to the party where black cherry, smoke and earthy flavors are framed by great acidity and ripe, lithe tannins.

The cherry-tinged finish is long with earthy and herbal nuance, ending on a varietal tobacco leaf note.

If you know where to look, there are some extremely well-made cabernet francs being grown and made in the Finger Lakes. This is one of them.

It was the first wine I went back to for a glass the evening my tasting over the weekend.

Producer: Red Newt Cellars
AVA: Finger Lakes

ABV: 13.7%

Brix: 23.8

RS: .4%

TA: 7 g/l

pH: 3.6

Production: 120 cases

Price: $39*
Rating:   35
(3.5 out of 5 | Very good-to-Delicious)

(*Ratings Guide)