Saturday, March 22, 2008
RAVINES MERITAGE 2005
This big red wine is 45 % Cabernet Franc, 32 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 % Merlot. According to winemaker Morten Hallgren (born in Provence, France), "2005 was an exceptionally warm and sunny vintage with near perfect growing conditions for the late ripening Bordeaux varieties. As a result of a cold Winter and minor Spring frost damage, followed by a relatively dry growing season, the yields were only 2 – 2.5 tons/acre. With grapes arriving in perfect conditions, we destemmed the cold grapes into open-top fermenters and proceeded with a 4 day cold soak, before inoculation. We increased our pump-over and punch-down regime to match the ripeness level of the vintage and allowed the grapes 3 ½ weeks on the skins. The separate lots were barrel aged in 75 % French oak and 25 % American oak with about 20 % overall new oak. The final blend was egg white fined and given a coarse filtration without cold stabilization."
Well, there's a mouthful to start off with. But what a mouthful! This is one of the biggest red wines to come out of New York State in a while.
The wine is a deep ruby. It offers an intense aromatic impact with red berries, spices and gentle oak. There is a touch of chocolate in the wine. It also offers 12.8% alcohol.
This is a big, deep wine, with lots of structure. The word that comes to mind is 'Elegant.' This is a wine that deserves your best decanter and the best meal you've cooke in a long while. Make sure to peruse more than a few cookbooks looking for just the right dish. If you waste this on pizza I will personally come to your house and spray you down with Andre Cold Duck!
When asked about his thoughts on making wine in the Finger Lakes, Morten said he benchmarked his wines against France, mainly Bordeaux. He said this not because he's crazy, but that the Finger Lake's weather was much more akin to that of Bordeaux than say California. Finger Lake berries will never get the sun in the Finger Lakes like berries can in California. So he looks east when looking to see what people in a comparable climate can do with grapes. Not a bad out look.
Morten wrote in his notes, "The 2005 Ravines Meritage shows the potential for the Bordeaux varieties in the Finger Lakes region in a warm and sunny growing season. The vintage led to a wine of uncommon structure and balance for the region."
Like some of he others, this bottle could take ten years to reach it's peak. This should easilly last 15 years in your cellar, but I would drink by 10. I would drink it tomorrow too!
This is an exquisite wine full of promise for the the house and for the region.
Morten and his wife Lisa have aimed their winery at making classic, superior dry European styled wines in the Finger Lakes. This wine extends them and the region way forward in their goals. Congratulations to Morten at the folks at Ravines!