Monday, March 5, 2012

Ravines Wine Cellars

Over a wintery weekend in January, Wine Wizards Bob and Howard drove, and drove, and drove to New York's Finger Lakes to visit Ravines Wine Cellars. Situated on the east side of Keuka Lake, Ravines produces several varietals of wines expressing the Finger Lakes' unique terroir. We are delighted to have recently incorporated their wines into our portfolio.

Ravines is owned and operated by Morten and Lisa Hallgren. Wine maker Morten learned his craft in the South of France, where his family has owned an estate for centuries. Following a time of additional training in Bordeaux and the United States, Morten landed in the Finger Lakes and began making wines that soon became the subject of great acclaim. He and wife Lisa, a chef, acquired their Keuka Lake site in 2000. As their website explains, "This land is located at the widest part of the lake which allows grapevines to receive maximum benefit from its temperature-moderating effects, it has a good slope which keeps the mineral rich soils well-drained, and is situated between two deep ravines, which drain cold air from the land during the winter." Those ravines are the namesake of the winery.

On the shore of Keuka Lake, below Ravines' winery. Photo by Howard.

Multi-tasking Bob in the Ravines tasting room.
The Hallgrens opened the Ravines tasting room in 2003.
Photo by Howard.
With a mission to strive for elegance, finesse, and balance, Ravines focuses on making "fine, classically styled wines that allow for the cool climate characteristics to be shown without compromise." Terroir plays an important role in the production of approximately ten varietals at Ravines, including the Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc represented in the Wizards portfolio.

2010 Dry Riesling
Delicate bouquet of white flowers mingled with pear, apple, and citrus notes followed by a lingering mineral finish and a vibrant acidity.

Named one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World for 2011, Ravines Dry Riesling has been featured in The New York Times by Eric Asimov, who wrote that the wine is, “juicy, tangy and lip smacking; floral and mineral aromas and flavors."

2009 Chardonnay
Rich and supple with citrus, melon, fig, and hazelnut favors. Ravines' own adaptation of the Passito method used to balance fruit and oak. Butter & toast aromas developed during aging in lightly toasted French Oak balanced with a fresh acidity lent by the coolness of the 2009 vintage.

2009 Cabernet Franc
A classic fruit-forward style with ripe red fruit and notes of earth and spice, with soft tannins and perfect balance. Ravines states, "Cabernet Franc is poised to become the flagship red variety of the Finger Lakes. It is particularly well suited to the growing conditions of the Finger Lakes. The vibrant fruit, lively acidity and earthy and spicy notes are remarkably reminiscent to what can be found in the Loire Valley."

The line-up. Photo courtesy Ravines Wine Cellars.

Great thanks to Bob and Howard for making the eight+ hour drive back and forth to the Finger Lakes. Our van is not the swankiest of vehicles so we really appreciate their willingness to make the drive, especially in icy January.

We are also grateful to Morten and Lisa for hosting Wine Wizards' visit.

For additional information, please contact your Wizards rep or refer to the following:
The New York Times, "Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner"
The Chronicle-Express, "Keuka Wine is Among Top 100"

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