Today at Ravines, we started moving pressed juice into barrels.
Riesling from the Argetsinger vineyard was moved into 10-year-old oak barrels. Using older barrels imparts as little oak aroma to the wine as possible while still allowing for aging and fermentation. Ravines has been using older oak barrels for our Argetsinger Riesling since 2010.
Winemaker Morten Hallgren says that the juice from the Argetsinger grapes will remain in barrels for around 6 months, or until sometime in April 2015. It will remain on the lees the entire time it is in the barrels. (Lees are yeast deposits left over from fermentation.) This aging on the lees, a process known as sur lie in French, allows the wine to accept all the aromas and flavor possible.
Morten said that the Riesling from the Argetsinger vineyard came in with a very low pH and approximately 9g/liter of acidity. This is likely due to the nature of Sam Argetsinger's vineyard, which is located in Hector on the southeastern side of Seneca Lake. This vineyard lies on a steep slope, allowing for good drainage; the Riesling vines are at the top of the hill. Seneca Lake's shape at that spot points the vineyard slightly north. The soil is Howard gravel over limestone bedrock, which accounts for the distinct minerality of the wines from this site. Sam's Riesling vines are among the oldest in the Finger Lakes.
Later today, Chardonnay from our 16 Falls vineyard in Lodi, NY will also be moved into barrels; the Chardonnay from our White Springs vineyard in Geneva will be moved into barrels tomorrow.
The Riesling harvest continues tomorrow at White Springs. Yesterday, 20 tons of beautiful Riesling grapes were brought in from the vineyard.
Check back here later in the week for more updates!