By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
Nancy Irelan, co-owner and winemaker at Red Tail Ridge Winery on the western side of Seneca Lake is one of the true champions off sustainability in the New York wine community.
For starters, she and her husband, co-owner Mike Schnelle, have built the state's only LEED-certified winery. The building itself features a geothermal heating/cooling system and was built using recycled materials and stone found in the vineyards.
In those vinyards, the irrigation and drainage system is designed to minimize run-off.
Ireland's belief in sustainability extends to the community beyond her winery as well. That's why she has created Good Karma, the winery's first charity wine benefitting Foodlink, a regional food bank that serves a ten-county area in the Genesee Valley and the Finger Lakes region.
"As farmers in this community, we just wanted to give something back," Ireland told me in an email.
In marketing this newly released wine, the winery and the food bank are using the clever line "Turn Wine Into Food."
A riesling heavy cuvee with some chardonnay blended in, Red Tail Ridge Winery 2009 Good Karma ($14) smells of pears, white grapefruit, just-ripe peaches and honey.
Medium-bodied and just off-dry, the palate delivers flavors well aligned with the nose — honeyed apples, pears, ripe peach — with a squirt of citrusy acidity that balances a slightly creamy, mouth-filling mid-palate and a finish of sweet lime and orange.
It's not as focused as Irelan's under-appreciated rieslings, but it's enjoyable in its forward, crowd-pleasing style. Drink now.
Producer: Red Tail Ridge Winery
AVA: Finger Lakes
Case Production: 950