Standout NY Wines

For the next few weeks, I will be featuring a series on select wines from New York State Wineries that I believe merit special attention.  The wineries are located in the Finger Lakes Niagara regions. The focus will be on specific dry reds and dry to semi-dry whites (particularly Rieslings) that I would encourage wine lovers to try. I would also recommend they visit these wineries over the Summer or Fall.

Just a few weeks ago I had my first sip of Randolph O’Neill wines. I was very impressed with the four wines I tasted, but there were two that held my attention the most. The 2014 Cabernet Franc was delicious. In fact I was stunned that such a recent vintage could taste so complex and not finish with the annoying green pepper notes that often exist in the finish of young Cabernet Francs. This wine had all the earmarks of an outstanding Cab Franc with gorgeous dark berry and currant flavors, black pepper and spice notes.  Acidity is good but not overpowering as are the tannins. The 2014 Riesling tastes like a high end German wine with a good structure and strong notes of green apple, peach, lime and petrol. This wine should be a must this Father’s Day weekend.

Randolph O’Neill Vineyard run by owner and winemaker Kelley O’Neill is a small production winery on the west side of Cayuga Lake.  Releasing their first wine in late 2015, the winery currently offers single vineyard Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and dry Rosé wines.  All grapes used to produce the wines are estate grown on the two acre vineyard.  For several years, their grapes have been used by other wineries , including several  award winning Rieslings produced at Silver Thread Vineyard.

O’Neill’s previously worked for Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars and Silver Thread Vineyard.  He also worked in retail wine sales in Ithaca, NY. O’Neill’s success is based on a balanced strategy which is to meet customer demand yet remain small enough to keep “a high level of attention to detail in both the grape growing and winemaking processes.”

As of now there is no formal tasting room, but if you are interested in tasting and visiting the production facility at 6965 State Route 89 in Ovid.  Contact Kelley O’Neill at [email protected] or call (607) 351-8890.