Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars
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!
Wine Spectator has designated Ravines 2011 Dry Riesling as a "Smart Buy" in the Buying Guide of their December 31, 2012 issue. Our 2011 Dry Riesling is a unique and elegant expression of the brilliant Finger Lakes terroir. The bouquet of this wine is delicate with intricate aromas of white flowers, mingled with pear, apple, and citrus notes, followed by a lingering mineral finish and vibrant acidity. At only $16.95 a bottle for a wine of this stature, it is most certainly a smart buy.
Another Riesling that would be smart to add to your personal cellar is our single vineyard, 2009 Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling, which received a 90 point score in the December 15, 2012 issue of Wine Spectator. Visit our Online Shop to purchase both of these Rieslings, along with the rest of our full line of dry, European-style wines.
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting James Molesworth, Senior Editor for Wine Spectator and author of wine blog Stirring the Lees, at our new production facility and tasting room. On previous trips to the Finger Lakes, James had visited us at our tasting room on Keuka Lake, but this was his first time seeing our new home on Seneca Lake.
James had the opportunity to take a walk through our vineyard with Winemaker, Morten Hallgren, who explained his decision to field graft the vineyard's few acres of hybrid vines over to Riesling:
"It's the first time in 25 years anyone has field grafted in the Finger Lakes. It makes sense: You keep the root structure in tact, don't have to redo the trellis system and only lose one harvest, rather than the four or more harvests you'd lose if you replanted entirely. We brought in a team from California and the success rate of the grafting was 98 percent. Anything around 80 percent is considered good. So we are really happy. But that's the first step. Now we have to get them through a winter and this first one will be the most risky for the newly grafted vines."
Watch the video of Morten and James in the White Springs Vineyard >
After touring the vineyards and cellar, James, Morten, and Lisa headed to the tasting room to taste a few of our recent releases, including the 2006 Brut Sparkling and 2011 Dry Riesling.
Molesworth described the 2006 Brut, "It's very refined, with subtle, fresh-cut pear, white peach, jicama and almond notes and a refined, gentle mousse through the finish. It shows a light toasty note but stays lighter in feel and more floral throughout."" I'd like to see it put in blind with a flight of Champagne—I think it would hold its own."
2011 Dry Riesling
And his thoughts on the Dry Riesling: "The Finger Lakes Riesling Dry 2011 looks to be one of the top bottlings from this heterogeneous vintage. It shows lovely cut from the start, with tarragon, flint, lime and pear peel notes and a long, nervy but invigorating finish...it's an excellent value."We had a wonderful time with James during his visit to our new winery and proud that he thinks so highly of our wines and the bright future for Ravines.
Read more about James' visit to Ravines on his blog Stirring the Lees and follow him on Twitter to see some great photos he took of the cellar and vineyards!
In today's edition of The New York Times, Eric Asimov, wine critic for The Times, writes about some great wine suggestions for those who waited until the last minute to head to the wine shop. Asimov recommended Ravines Dry Riesling as his standby American White wine for Thanksgiving dinner:
"My standby is the $15 Finger Lakes riesling from Ravines. This is a great wine..."
Full Article >
The Washington Post recently published their annual list of "Thanksgiving Wines to Try", a selection of wines that will match well with the White House Thanksgiving menu or your own traditional turkey and stuffing. Ravines' 2011 Dry Riesling was included in this year's list, receiving an 'Exceptional' 3 star (out of 3) rating and the following review:
Ravines Dry Riesling 2011
Finger Lakes, New York, $17
The wine industry east of the West Coast is exploding, and New York’s Finger Lakes have established a distinct character and style for Riesling. This lovely example caresses the palate with a limpid, mineral texture and flavors of apricot and peach, with a refreshing edge of talc and lime.
With Thanksgiving only a day away, now is the time to stock up on wine for your holiday meal. Be sure to include a bottle of our beautiful 2011 Dry Riesling on the table with your feast tomorrow. Space
Happy Thanksgiving from Ravines Wine Cellars!
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.
Ravines just got better! We are pleased to announce the addition of the vineyards and winery at White Springs Farm to the Ravines Wine Cellars family. In a deal closed earlier this year, Ravines acquired the White Springs production facility, along with 42 acres of vineyards at the Geneva site and an additional 19 acres not yet under vine.
The deal was an acquisition of assets, not a merging of the two brands. White Springs owner Carl Fribolin maintained ownership of the White Springs brand and the White Springs tasting room located on State Route 14. Ravines will continue to make wine for White Springs, as we have already been doing for the past few years.
The addition of the vineyards is especially exciting for Ravines explains winemaker, Morten Hallgren, "With its proximity to the extension of the Niagara escarpment, it sits on calcareous soil with pH values between 7 and 8. Our first impression is that riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and gewürztraminer will stand out."
"The vineyards at White Springs are exquisite and the production facility is unrivaled in this region. This will be the third year we have produced our wines here in this facility and we couldn't be happier." - Morten Hallgren, Winemaker
The New York Times wine critic, Eric Asimov, recently selected Ravines 2011 Dry Riesling as one of his Top 12 American Value Wines.
Check out Eric's full list of top 12 values in American wines and be sure to follow his blog! We love his appreciation for the Finger Lakes wine region and are always beyond thrilled when he recognizes any of our wines!
Believe it or not, Harvest 2012 is already underway. The 2012 vintage will be the earliest harvest in the Finger Lakes on record. An early bud break, a small crop, and a warm, sunny growing season have resulted in exceptional ripeness levels. The sunny, dry weather has given us clean fruit in pristine condition.
The first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our sparkling wine production were harvested last week from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard.
Expect to see a lot more from us this fall. We're looking forward to a fantastic vintage.
The Wine Spectator lists Ravines Dry Riesling as one of this year's 100 most interesting wines of the world! This follows recent accolades by Eric Asimov, New York Times wine editor calling Ravines "One of the best producers in the Finger Lakes," and recommended Ravines Dry Riesling as his top pick for Thanksgiving saying, "among some excellent whites, it was our favorite wine with food."
"Ravines Dry Riesling is like no other, it is my own personal expression of Finger Lakes Riesling. Each vintage is different in its own way, but the style does not change: delicate aromas of floral, citrus and fruit, vibrant acidity and a mineral-tinged finish. I stir the lees to create a richer mouthfeel and ferment out the sugar which brings focus to the flavors and aromas."
-Winemaker, Morten Hallgren
Due to high demand, we are now sold out of our 2009 Dry Riesling. The 2010 vintage is now available, exhibiting many the same qualities and nuances of flavor.
Eric Asimov visited Ravines Wine Cellars during the 2011 Harvest season:
DEEP LAKES, ICY CLIMATE, GREAT WINE
By ERIC ASIMOV, published: October 11, 2011
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Ravines Wine Cellars, one of the best producers, makes a wonderful dry riesling. I drank a 2009 and liked it so much that I bought a case, for just $14 a bottle. Ravines also makes a superb riesling from the Argetsinger Vineyard above the east bank of Seneca Lake. The lakes, deep claw marks left in the earth of west-central New York by glaciers moving south from the Hudson Bay, are as much a part of the winemaking culture here as tough vintages like 2001. The great depth of their waters nudges this otherwise inhospitable region to a level of bare tolerance for the fine wine grapes planted on the lakes’ slopes. In winter, the lakes almost never freeze, moderating harsh cold to protect the dormant vines, while in summer they air-condition the vineyards.
“The whole cool-climate viticulture thing is lacking on the American wine scene,” said Morten Hallgren, the winemaker and owner of Ravines with his wife, Lisa. “It shows a bright future for the Finger Lakes.”
DINER'S JOURNAL: THE GOOD LIFE COMES A LITTLE HARDER IN THE FINGER LAKES
By ERIC ASIMOV, published: October 11, 2011
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The best vineyards are planted on slopes surrounding the lakes, where they benefit thermally from the lake effect: in the summer, cool breezes from the lakes ease the heat, while in the harsh winter, warmth retained by the lakes prevents the vines from freezing.
Closer to the lakes, vacation homes occupy the shores, each, seemingly, with its own dock, along with the occasional resort. The flat, fertile land in between the lakes serves old orchards and dairy farms. A significant population of Mennonites lives in the land between the lakes as well. Numerous signs warn motorists to be aware of horse-and-buggy traffic.
Tourism is important to the region, but it’s not the wealthy sort of wine country tourism more typical in California.
It's not Napa, but it has some outstanding wines and lovely scenery.