AWG Correspondent

Julie Grice

Chateau LaFayette Reneau Photos

Chateau LaFayette Reneau Review

Regions: Finger Lakes AVA, Seneca Lake AVA, New York

Reviewed: February 10, 2014 by Julie Grice
Published: March 5, 2014

The exterior of Chateau LaFayette Reneau is rustic and sweet – rough, unfinished wood contrasts nicely with the lovely landscaping and clear lake view. A little footbridge leads up to the front door.

The interior is covered in rustic wood paneling, matching the country feel of the exterior. All of the winery’s medals greet visitors as they enter, displayed as they are on the wall directly across from the front door. The display is impressive and bodes well for the wine tastings. Three large tasting bars make the winery especially appealing to small groups on even the busiest of days, and large tour groups on any day.

There are two picnic areas for visitors, making Chateau LaFayette Reneau a nice mid-day break point in a long day of wine tastings. Out front, picnic tables are grouped under a vine-covered arbor. There are more tables on the deck out back, overlooking the lake.

The Experience:  The $3 tasting fee covers six pours of wine. While the service was quick and efficient on a slow weekend afternoon, the staff was not very talkative. Questions about the wines and winery were answered, but in as few words as possible, though not in an unfriendly way. This may have had something to do with the fact that the winery had gone through a change in ownership a mere six weeks earlier. One other small issue with the service was that the tasting glasses didn’t get rinsed between the red and white wine tastings.

The Wine:  The tasting menu is of average length among Finger Lakes wineries, ringing in at 18 wines. The Seyval-Chardonnay, with its fruity and flowery nose, is perhaps Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s most well-known wine. Other notable dry white wines include the 2011 Dry Riesling, which took home a gold medal at the 2013 Riverside International Wine Competition, and the Proprietor’s Reserve 2012 Chardonnay, of which only 300 cases were produced.

The Cuvee Rouge, the winery’s best-selling red wine, starts out a little peppery, but ends on a raspberry-plum note. On the sweeter end of the red wine spectrum lays the Roaring Red. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Baco grapes, the wine is rich, fruity and smooth. The Emperor’s Blush is made of a similar blend, but with Cayuga grapes in place of the Cabernet Sauvignon, lending it a watermelon flavor and brown sugar nose.

While all of the wines are fine, few are noteworthy enough to warrant buying a bottle on the way out, with one key exception: the 2012 Late Harvest Riesling. The winner of gold medals from both the International Riesling Foundation and the Long Beach Grand Cru, the wine has just the right balance of sweetness and acidity, creating a luscious fruity wine suitable for dessert on a special occasion.

The Extras:  The gift shop offers plenty of local foods, ranging from dipping sauces to mustard. Several sauces and condiments are opened and displayed with pretzel sticks for easy sampling, such as pepper jelly and maple mustard. Apparel, jewelry and wine paraphernalia round out the gift shop.

Insiders’ Tips:  Out of town visitors looking for a place to stay during a weekend of wine tasting may want to consider the Inn at Chateau LaFayette Reneau, a ten-room farmhouse next door to the tasting room.

Address & Contact Information: 5081 State Route 414 Hector, New York 14841. Telephone: 607-546-2062/80, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Apr-Oct: Mon-Sat 10:00-5:15, Sun 10:00-5:15; Nov-Mar: Mon-Sat 10:00-4:15, Sun 11:00-4:15.

Overall Rating:  

Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance

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