If quality wine from New York is news to you, you really need to do yourself a favor and make the drive up there. They are making amazing Rieslings to rival those of Germany, as well as vibrant Pinot Noir, savory Cabernet Franc, and spicy Blaufrankisch. What makes this area so special is the geography and geology of the area. When the glaciers started receding millions of years ago they carved long, deep lakes. Seneca Lake is so deep, in fact, that it almost never freezes, no matter how bitter the winter. Because of this, vines planted close to the lake are protected from freezing to death during the winter, while in the summer the cold lake waters keep a natural breeze circulating through the vineyards to protect the grapes from frost and mold. The soils are incredibly complicated, with one vineyards having more soil diversity than the entire county of Lodi, California.
Ravines Wine Cellars is a boutique winery in an emerging world-class wine region, the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. It is the dream and passion of Morten & Lisa Hallgren, a European Winemaker/Oenologist and his Chef/Foodie wife. Together they have created a small, distinctive winery crafting elegant and food friendly wines using Old World winemaking traditions with New World innovation.
Morten was raised in the Provence region of the South of France, a region world famous for its religion of food and wine. The Hallgren family owned and operated Domaine de Castel Roubine, a 270 acre estate with 170 acres of vineyards. While archaeological findings on the estate date back to the Roman era, the first documentation of grapegrowing on the estate dates back to 1307 and the Temple Order. Prior to the French revolution, the estate belonged to various great French families including the De Villeneuve, while the estate covered some 60,000 acres.
Castel Roubine was a culinary paradise, surrounded by vineyards and fruit trees: fig, apricot, cherry, pear, apple, all types of berry bushes and wild herbs like rosemary, thyme, laurier and fennel. The family built a new, state-of-the-art winery and expanded the distribution of its wines to most of Western Europe and North America. Morten spent years in the vineyards honing his viticultural skills alongside his future brother-in-law Jean Michel, and in the cellar, learning the traditional methods of fine European winemaking.
He received an advanced degree in both Enology and Viticulture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie in Montpellier, one of the world’s top winemaking schools, and spent his first harvest in Bordeaux, at Chateau Cos d’Estournel, a world renown winery in the Medóc region owned by the legendary Bruno Pratts.
After working for a French negociant on a project in West Texas, he moved on to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the most visited winery in America.
He was recruited by Willy Frank who offered him a job as chief winemaker for Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake, the most scenic of the five Finger Lakes of Upstate New York, where he continued working for six years.
In 2000 the Hallgrens purchased a 17 acre parcel of land on a glacier-carved hillside on the Eastern slopes of Keuka lake. 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. These ravines are the namesake of the winery.
The charming tasting room with scenic views of the lake, opened in spring 2003 and is decorated in a Provençal style, including a sculpted head of Bacchus, the Roman god of Wine, from the Castel Roubine tasting room. Two months after opening, Ravines won Best Dry Riesling in the 2003 World Riesling Cup at the Eastern International Wine Competition for the 2002 Dry Riesling.
Ravines has won recognition as a quality-driven winery dedicated to producing crafted and elegant food-friendly wines, has won numerous medals in international wine competitions, received great reviews in major wine publications and can be found in many wine shops and fine restaurants throughout New York state.
Lisa has created a seasonal schedule of food & wine pairing events for customers to enjoy during visits to the tasting room.
"Ravines' flagship, estate grown, 100% Cabernet Franc. 57% from our 16 Falls Vineyard and 43% from our White Springs Vineyard aged for one year in 3 year old, 2000 liter Hungarian oak casks.
Medium bodied and juicy with crunchy red fruits. Hints of floral and mineral notes are backed by black cherries and baking spices. The long, bright finish is both refreshing and satisfying with the benchmark herbaceousness and dark berry punch." -- Winery