Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars
Planting begins on a new vineyard at our White Springs location on Seneca Lake
A new 10 acre vineyard is being constructed abreast of the 42 acres at Ravines' White Springs Vineyard. Apart of the Niagara Escarpment Extension, the soil composition at White Springs consists of calareous limestone under honeyoye loam. The site has a substantial slope facing Seneca Lake, offering both great drainage and protection from harsh winter temperatures. The White Springs Vineyard was first planted in 2000 by the late Carl Fribolin.
The new vineyard will be planted with Cabernet Franc, and two Riesling clones, Geisenhem 198 and Neustadt 90. Riesling clone 198 is a very elegant clone with aromatic qualities, while clone 90 has cold resistant qualities while offering low yields ideal for high qualitiy wines. These additional vines will allow Ravines to produce more of it's signature Dry Riesling that has won many accolades, including several showings on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list.
Stop by our Geneva Location to see the ongoing progress of this new vineyard.
Ravines' semi-sparkling Ayre has just been bottled and is now available for purchase online and in our tasting rooms. Light and refreshing and a perfect companion for Sunshine, Ayre is a Prosecco style Valvin Muscat, a French-American hybrid developed by Cornell University. You can sample the Ayre at our Keuka and Seneca tasting rooms, or if you have tried it before, you can order it online as well.
Photo: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Riesling has been a great success story in the Finger Lakes, and though it’s not the only winner in the region, it’s been by far the dominant grape there. Year in and year out, Ravines’s riesling has been one of my favorites. It’s absolutely refreshing, with earthy, citrus and wet stone flavors. If you like this, try the Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard riesling, a firmer, deeper single-vineyard version.
Eric Asimov - New York Times
Today Wine Spectator's prestigious Top 100 list was released for 2015 and Ravines 2012 Dry Riesling, a single vineyard Riesling from the amazing Argetsinger Vineyard, was on the list. This is the third time in the past five years that a Ravines Dry Riesling has made the list. Ravines Oenologist/Winemaker Morten Hallgren has always produced steely, mineral-laden Dry Rieslings since his first vintage in 2002. "The top producers at the time focused on the sweeter, German style, but I wanted to express the pure mineral and fruit side."
Sam Argetsinger, who passed away almost a year ago, was an incredible person and a passionate grape grower. His vineyard is on a very special site. His children own the vineyard now, with son, Beren, at the helm of management.
This wine is described by James Molesworth as having "taut, lip-smacking acidity [which] harnesses the core of Jonagold apple, heather, white peach and candied citrus peel notes in this ripe white, keeping this focused and energetic through the finish."
Eric Asimov, wine writer for the New York Times, mentioned Ravines Dry Riesling in his recent article "12 Everday Bottles for Wine Lovers."
"Yet riesling is such an eloquent grape that I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to its sweet expression. Dry rieslings from Germany, Austria, even New York can easily substitute for the St.-Véran for a change of inflection. Entry-level versions from producers like Ravines, Peter Lauer and Bründlmayer may run $15 to $25."
~ Eric Asimov, New York Times
Riesling is readily described as a fundamental bottle of wine, given it's versatility when pairing the wine with food. Ravines Dry Riesling features a focused mineral expression and a vivacious acidity that is sure to please any palate.
If you have visited our Keuka Lake tasting room recently, you might have noticed some activity on the slopes behind the building. We cleared the slope and have planted over 6,000 Riesling and Chardonnay vines on 5.5 acres overlooking the lake.
Our vineyard team used GPS and laser technology to plant the vines precisely in line to allow for optimal maintenance.
The steep slope will allow maximum sunlight to reach the approximately 4,000 Riesling vines and over 2,000 Chardonnay vines. The clones that were planted are Riesling 198 and Chardonnay Colmar and 95.
According to Winemaker Morten Hallgren, the trellis posts and wires will be installed within the next month; plastic growth tubes were placed around the vines over the past couple of weeks. The tubes help train the vines to grow straight and also protect from animals which might try to eat the new growth.
It will be several years before any grapes from this new vineyard find their way into our bottles, but visitors are always welcomed to stop by to see how the vines are progressing and taste through our delicious wines.
Ravinous Club members will be receiving their club boxes for May 2015 soon. One of the four wines in this collection is our 2011 Meritage, a Bordeaux-style blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot.
This wine has opened up tremendously since it was released last fall. Right now, tastes of red cherry predominate at first, giving way to woodsy notes; there is a long finish of red currant and raspberry.
Compared to other Ravines Meritage releases in a recent vertical tasting, the 2011 is still young, but shows great potential for the future. This year's blend is the first with no Cabernet Franc, so it tastes fresh and bright. (In comparison, the 2005 vintage was predominantly Cabernet Franc. The 2006 through 2010 vintages each contained approximately 25% Cabernet Franc.)
Come try the 2011 Meritage at either of our tasting room locations, perhaps as part of a pairing with local cheeses. We feature Meritage paired with Keeley's "Little Pond", a semi-soft cow's milk cheese from a friend of ours on Cayuga Lake.
If you've visited one of our tasting rooms, it's likely that you have seen the "Library List" near the register. This is a list of older vintages of some of our wines that are available for purchase. We hold back a few cases of each release so that our customers can buy some of these beautifully aged wines.
Successive vintages of the same wine can be very different. Since 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012 were warm and sunny, the wines from those years tend to be fruit-forward and more intense. 2006 and 2009 were cooler, and the wines from those vintages are balanced and show great cellaring potential. 2011 had a little of everything, with a cool and wet spring, warm dry summer, and warm and wet fall.
While you might expect the majority of our older wines to be reds, we have a good selection of aged whites as well: four vintages of Chardonnay, for example, and two of our Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling, among others. If you were able to attend last summer's Vineyard Picnic, you may remember that we paired three library wines with French cheeses from Murray's in New York City - 2007 Meritage, 2008 Pinot Noir, and 2008 Chardonnay.
You can buy some of our library wines online, and the entire library list can be purchased in the tasting rooms.
Lindsay Prichard featured Ravines' library program in his New York Cork Report article "The Joy Of Going Vertical" last year.
Last weekend, Ravines hosted our annual Spring Barrel Tasting Weekend at our Geneva facility. Ravinous Club members enjoyed a preview of six of the wines from our 2014 vintage, paired with food prepared by Chef Christopher Bates from the FLX Wienery.
We started Sunday's Spring Barrel Tasting Brunch with a welcoming glass of our 2006 Brut in the tasting room; then everyone moved to the cellar. Winemaker Morten Hallgren talked about the new Riesling and Gewurztraminer releases while everyone got a taste of the wines that had been pulled directly from the fermentation tanks. The fun then moved to the barrel room.
Attendees next tried tank samples of the 2014 Keuka Village White and Pinot Rose. These were followed by a comparison between the current vintage of our Chardonnay, which was poured from the bottle, and the 2014 Chardonnay, which was pulled directly from the barrel; the 2014 will remain in the barrel until at least July 2015.
We also compared Pinot Noirs in a similar way; the current 2012 vintage was poured from bottles, while one of the components of the 2014 vintage was pulled from the barrel.
These events are a great opportunity for Club members to talk to Morten and get the inside scoop on the winemaking process by asking questions and seeing the barrels and tanks up close. One Club member asked a great question about the way we re-use our barrels; a barrel that was used to make red wine will remain a red wine barrel for its lifetime with us, although we might not always use it for the same grape (for example, a barrel we use for Pinot Noir this year might contain Cabernet Franc next year).
Each dish on the menu was created to pair perfectly with the wines.
We wrapped the event up with a taste of 2011 Late Harvest Vignoles before moving back to the tasting room for a sampling of our 2008 Pinot Noir from the wine library.
For more information about upcoming Ravinous Club events, click here. The next Club event is May 1.
For information on how to join the Ravinous Club, click here.
This week, winemaker Morten Hallgren disgorged more Sparkling Brut — almost a decade after it was bottled.
Disgorging is the process whereby the yeasts in each bottle are removed. In the classic method used by Ravines, the bottles have been riddled to get the yeast and other sediments into the bottles' necks; once the riddling process is complete, the necks are frozen and the plugs of ice containing the lees are removed (this is the actual disgorging process).
Once the bottles have been disgorged, a small amount of sugar is added to the wine before a cork is placed in each bottle. This process is called dosage, and is done to balance out the acidity of the wine rather than to add any sweetness.
The time between when a sparkling wine is bottled and when it is disgorged is called time en tirage. The longer a wine is en tirage, the finer the bubbles and foam will be, and the wine will develop more of the brioche taste and aroma that people associate with a brut sparkling. If a wine is disgorged early, it will be fruitier, with larger bubbles. (Morten likens these bubbles to those found in soda.)
The wine that was disgorged today has been en tirage for almost 8 years, having been bottled in May of 2007.