On Sunday, January 27th we released an 11 year aged wine, Flor, with an extravagant wine dinner in our cellar room. Master Sommelier and renowned chef, Christopher Bates, created the menu and prepared dishes to pair with Flor and other Ravines wines. As a study and big proponent of fortified and oxidized wines, he gave guests a fascinating primer on the prestige of this long-lived and dynamic, old-world wine style.
Ravines Winemaker, Morten Hallgren, grew up around the vines and winemakers in France and has always been interested in emulating this type of wine in the Finger Lakes. In 2008, Morten set out to produce and age a spectacular dry, sipping wine in the style of Fino Sherry from Spain or "Vin Jaune" from the Jura region of France, meaning "yellow wine". The wine's color is more accurately described as hazelnut or bronze, as Morten let the famous yeast strain, flor (hence how the wine got its name!), spend years interacting with the wine in old oak barrels, creating a flowering veil of flor that protected the wine and added complexity as it aged.
Since Flor is a fortified wine with 16% alcohol, it's a beautiful aperitif to pair with apps like salty aged cheeses, olives or charcuterie boards. Plus, you're able to drink it over a longer period of time than a regular bottle of wine without spoiling.
As for the seductive flavors of Flor, a bright nose of almonds, baking spices, and dried oranges emanates from the glass. As you take a sip, your palate is enveloped by layers of walnut, bitter honey and a lingering sensation of toasted bread. The wine finishes bone dry, a perfect complement to many dishes, but which Chef Bates decided on Sunday to pair with Comte (a french, unpasteurized cow cheese) and foie gras on a potato chip.