Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars
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.
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.
The Finger Lakes may have just received a foot of snow, but the activity doesn't stop at Ravines.
Both tasting rooms are open, so you can stop in to taste our newest releases and perhaps pair the wines with our Ravinous Plate of local cheese and artisan chocolate. The 2014 vintage wines are in their tanks and barrels; winemaker Morten Hallgren and Assistant Winemaker Darrin Scott are carefully checking their development every day. The vineyard crew is tending the vines. And Neil, our wine club manager, is preparing the Ravinous Club Pack for March.
In addition to the wines (Ravines' 2011 Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling, 2013 Keuka Village Red, 2012 Pinot Noir, and 2013 Gewurztraminer), the package also includes the Ravinous Newsletter, which contains notes from Morten and Lisa and recipes which were specially selected to pair with the four wines. One of the recipes is for duck breast which has been smoked over grapevines - and since many people likely won't have access to grapevines, the package also includes a bundle of vines from our White Springs vineyard.
Club members receive four packages a year, in March, May, September, and October. Usually there will be two reds and two whites, and often there will be a wine that may not be available to non-club members (for example, one of our single-vineyard Chardonnays, or our exclusive Cerise blend of Pinot Noir and Lemberger). Club members also enjoy a 20% discount on all wines, with the exception of our Appassionata and Late Harvest Vignoles dessert wines, and receive complimentary wine tastings for themselves and up to three guests at either of our tasting rooms. Club members are also invited to some of the best events around, from our Spring Barrel Tastings to the Fall Harvest Festival and more. (See the full event calendar here.) And there's no membership fee! If you're not already a member, why not take a few minutes and join your fellows who are Ravinous?
Last weekend's "The Art of Blending" event really had the creative juices flowing down in the barrel room of the cellar! On Saturday and Sunday, guests joined Winemaker, Morten Hallgren, on a journey into the realm of winemaking as he presented the history of Cabernets from a European perspective, before they came to the New World. Morten discussed the differences in philosophies of Old World versus New World and explained why the cool climate of the Finger Lakes region is just right for producing elegant and expressive red wines.
Attendees learned about each of the three individual varietals that make up a Meritage and how each enhances the final blend as well as how the Winemaker's artistic vision and skill creates the pleasure factor in an impeccably crafted Cabernet blend. After sampling each varietal individually, guests were given the chance to experiment and create their own unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Several of our Ravinous Wine Club members who were at the event enjoyed creating their own blends so much that they suggested we let RWC members create a special "Ravinous Blend" for a future vintage! Stay tuned for more information about that potential collaboration in 2013...
Once the blending exercise was complete, guests enjoyed a vertical flight of four Ravines Meritage vintages from 2006-2009 and experienced the art of blending as they tasted and learned about the differences and sublime similarities between each vintage. A poll taken after tasting each of the four vintages concluded that the 2006 Meritage was the consensus favorite, with 2007 being a close second. The flight was accompanied by a plate of small bites paired and created to enhance the flavors of these complex wines, which included: Local Angus Beef braised overnight in Ravines Meritage with shallots and local garlic and baked in a pastry crust, Muranda Bleu Cheese on a Baguette brushed with Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil, and Hedonist Artisan Chocolates Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles infused with Ravines Meritage. The favorite pairings of the day were:
2007 - Braised Beef
2006 & 2008 - Bleu Cheese Baguette
2009 - Hedonist Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle
The weekend was a huge success. Guests loved not only learning about the history and process behind a beautiful Meritage, but having the opportunity to engage and interact by creating their own blends, voting on their favorite Ravines Meritage vintage, and pairing the wines with food. We look forward to offering more great events like "The Art of Blending" in 2013 - stay up to date on all the latest news and happenings at Ravines by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and checking our Event Calendar. Cheers!