Ravines Wine Cellars Pinot Noir paired with trofie and arugula pesto

In the year 2000, my partner Marc and I went on our first visit across The Finger Lakes. Evan Dawson, the gifted wine writer for the New York Cork Report, was the primary reason behind the decision to travel north. His enthusiasm about the great wines from The Finger Lakes convinced me that I ought to take a more in-depth review of the region.

(In an earlier blog post, I’ve written about my first encounter with Evan and our visit to the Hermann J. Wiemerwinery. If you’d like to read the post, please visit the link below.)

The day before the departure of our trip, Evan graciously emailed me an excerpt from his soon-to-be-published publication, Summer in a Glass. I was delighted to receive an insider’s look. Evan’s writing is brimming with passion for wines, grapes, as well as The Finger Lakes. Marc read the book aloud while I drove along, our excitement getting bigger with each new page.

The book in question concerned Morten Hallgreen, the renowned winemaker at Ravines Wine Cellars. When Marc had read the final sentence, we were only just 30 minutes from Ravines. We decided that we had to visit even when Ravines’ tasting rooms were set to close.

Six or five wines were served, with each one being great, but it was the Pinot Noir that caught my eye. The wine was slowly pouring into our glasses; I was amazed by The hue! It was a deep ruby with garnet tones; it was so light you could see your hands straight in the glass. Making a Pinot Noir this pale took an amount of courage. However, after hearing about the extraordinary life of Morten as a winemaker and his unwavering determination to perfect his art, I knew that we had in store for a real treat. I was eager to take one sip.

Ravines Wine Cellars Pinot Noir

Producer: Ravines Wine Cellars

Region: Finger Lakes

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2008

Alc: 12.5%

Price: $23

Decanting the wine about 1 to 2 hours prior to serving.

Swirling and smelling and smelling Ravines Pinot Noir is pure pleasure. The wine is vibrant, young, and full of scents of red cherry strawberries, plums, violet, white pepper earth, and vanilla – quite a lot for this young wine! Every taste bud is asking for a glass.

The wonderful scents that sat in the nostrils are expanding within the mouth. The delicate notes of herbs and cedar come in. A light-bodied wine with fresh acidity and soft, sweet tannins, This Pinot Noir is nonetheless intensely tasty. For a final teaser, it provides a long final. A great structure and delicious flavors make this wine an ideal one to drink alongside food.

As warmer temperatures are expected to stay for a while, and fresh, local fruits and vegetables are plentiful, I decided to mix the Ravine Pinot Noir with a light summer-inspired dish. This profile, paired with Arugula pesto and flash-sauteed tomatoes, turned out to be perfect.

The acidity of the wine is perfect with the sweet but tart cherry tomatoes while also keeping the pesto sauce at bay. However, what’s impressive is the way that it is that the structure of this wine complements the lightness of the meal.

Saving a few bottles of this wonderful Pinot Noir is a great idea. It’s certain to have a lot more presents to be bestowed in the next few years.

I’ll forever be thankful to Evan Dawson for introducing me to the winemakers from the Finger Lakes. With his eye, his words, and his taste, I’ve been able to understand the work of these people more intimately. The wines become more personal and intimate. These winemakers Evan discusses in his writings don’t simply make their mark into their wines; they also put their heart into it. It’s a thrilling pursuit, just like the pursuit of Terroir.


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