Harvest at Ravines is coming to a close this week, after being the earliest harvest on record, the final grapes - some beautiful Cabernet Franc - from the Hobbit Hollow Vineyard located on Skaneateles Lake, will arrive in the cellar tomorrow.
In spite of the unprecedented early start to the season, the quality of the grapes in the 2012 vintage has been remarkable. The white grapes were able to fully ripen while maintaining the bright acidity that the Finger Lakes region is so well known for. The red grapes hit sugar levels higher than we've ever seen before, with some of our Cabernet Franc coming in with Brix as high as 25. For the most part, the grapes retained a good acidity level, allowing the wines to retain an excellent balance to go along with ripe softer tannins and intense aromas.
The only Riesling that will be bottled as a single vineyard Riesling is the Argetsinger Riesling, whose grapes come exclusively from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard located on the southeast corner of Seneca Lake. Sam's vineyard is one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the Finger Lakes. The shallow, mineral-rich soils of the vineyard give the grapes a leaner fruit profile with more floral characteristics and focused minerality.
Fruit as unique as the grapes from Sam's vineyard require special treatment in the cellar. A portion of the wine is put into old, neutral French Oak barrels for fermentation and aging on the lees throughout the winter. Aging the Riesling in oak barrels softens the mouthfeel of the wine while making it structurally more complex. Winemaker Morten Hallgren has been utilizing this technique in the production of the Argetsinger Riesling since the 2010 vintage.