Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars
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.
Cool-climate viticulture and the Finger Lakes. This is only the first of what I hope to be many blog entries pertaining to cool-climate viticulture and the role the Finger Lakes could play in the American wine market. To most wine drinkers, familiar with both European and American wine regions, there is an inescapable paradox, which can be kept down for a while, but sooner or later has to surface. In Europe, the cool climate wine regions have historically held privileged positions in the minds of wine aficionados.
Think: Mosel, Champagne, Alsace, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Piemonte. While subject to considerable vintage variations resulting from their limiting growing season, these regions have nevertheless been associated with the very finest wines produced in the World. Understanding the sources of the vintage variations, wine drinkers anxiously await the reports describing the growing conditions of a particular vintage. It is understood, that only a few privileged regions provide the necessary conditions to produce wines of such reputation and interest and that these wines command a premium. It is perhaps because the grape growing and wine making conditions in these cool-climate regions are more challenging, that they have received most of the attention over the last 200 years. It is perhaps also because of the intrinsically higher quality potential, as defined by the consumers, that they have been held in high esteem.
Contrast this scenario with what has been happening on the American wine scene. Not including the Jefferson-era East Coast attempts or the native Labrusca as well as French-American hybrids, the action was long restricted to the West Coast. Despite sometimes significant climatic differences, I will contend that nearly none of the West Coast wine regions would qualify as cool-climate regions. I base this contention on two essential criteria: cool-climate viticulture severely limits the grape varieties suited to that region and, equally important, the wines produced retain essential cool-climate characteristics: moderate alcohol, noticeable acidity, fresh fruit aromas and significant aging potential. While many West Coast regions meet certain of these criteria, I do not believe that any meet all of them. On certain occasions, you could argue that the natural conditions are there, but than wine makers ( and winery owners) choose to bend the natural conditions to the point of loosing the regional character of their wines. I could easily be wrong on this point and would welcome corrections.
In the United States, I would limit the significant cool-climate wine regions to the following: Michigan, Parts of Pennsylvania, Long Island and the Finger Lakes region of New York. I know there are noteworthy producers of interesting vinifera wines in other regions, such as Millbrook in the Hudson Valley or Sakonnet in Rhode Island, but they remain isolated. Returning to the initial paradox, my question is this: why have the cool-climate regions in United States received so little attention? As a winemaker in the Finger Lakes region I’m primarily concerned with our region. Why has our wine region, at least until very recently, failed to attract the attention of the American wine drinkers and wine professionals? From my point of view, there is nothing more exciting than a cool-climate wine region maturing to produce interesting noteworthy wines. To be able to follow this rapid evolution is a unique insight, that none of us could experience in Burgundy or Bordeaux. Much like these regions, vinifera winemaking arrived later in the Finger Lakes than it did in California, Oregon or Washington State. The same was the case in Europe, where winemaking followed up the Rhone Valley before spreading to the northerly wine regions. In Europe, the spread of viticulture took centuries. In North America, we are essentially talking about four decades.
There will always be great spread in quality and style in new wine regions. This is even more true in a cool climate region such as ours. However, our region has the potential to produce wines with a balance, an elegance, a purity of aromas that simply cannot be duplicated in a warmer climate. This is why the cool-climate regions of Europe are now considered the classic regions. Just following this evolution in our region would be a worthy endeavor, so why has this not happened yet?
“Quality is on the upswing in New York’s Finger Lakes Region” according to James Molesworth, senior editor of The Wine Spectator magazine.
Ravines Wine Cellars, and our Dry Argetsinger Riesling is one of the features of this article, and Molesworth points out that Ravines single vineyard Dry Riesling is the only non-desert wine in the Finger Lakes ever to have consecutive vintages with outstanding ratings.
Sam Argetsinger and his family’s estate vineyard are a big part of the beauty of this wine. Old vines, gravelly loam and limestone deposits create a distinctive minerality that sets this vineyard apart from others.
Ravines Argetsinger Dry Riesling is not the only wine from us that made Molesworth’s list, also included was:
Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2008 (Floral with perfumy hint of peach, green almond, green apple, and melon rind notes, Bony in style, but not severe. RATING: 92
Ravines Meritage Finger Lakes 2007 (Shows depth and refinement, with currant, damson, plum and black cherry fruit, and on a fine-grained structure. Tangy herb and mineral hints. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot.) RATING: 89
Currently our 2008 Argetsinger dry riesling is only available to our Ravinous Wine Club Members. It is , so come JOIN NOW!