Winery to Watch 2014

Finger Lakes, New York: Red Tail Ridge

Nancy Irelan was running research and development for enology and viticulture at E&J Gallo in Modesto before moving with her husband, Mike Schnelle, to the west side of Lake Seneca in 2004. Schnelle cleared the land and planted the vines and you might think, sensibly, that Irelan had come here to grow riesling…. But then why is the bottom half of their 35-acre estate dedicated to blaufrankisch, teroldego and dornfelder? In the Finger Lakes, these Alpine reds may well thrive. Teroldego and dornfelder grown at Irelan’s Red Tail Ridge make rustic country wines, ready for charcuterie on a hike in Watkins Glen, but her blaufrankisch is in the running to become a classic New York State red, with the sort of hearty elegance these northern climes bring to wine.