FINGER LAKES REPORT – We wrapped up our first day with a great dinner at the Village Tavern in Hammondsport, a small village at the southern tip of Lake Keuka. The Village Tavern has an expansive Finger Lakes wine list and a menu that ranges from pub fare to gourmet. Fortified with a breakfast of corned beef hash the next morning, we set out to cover the East shore of Keuka – the first stop: Ravines Wine Cellars.
Ravines is a high quality, low production winery founded by Morten Hallgren, a French-trained winemaker who oversaw winemaking at Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars before striking out on his own. His resume includes a stay at Biltmore Estate Winery.
The tasting fee (as with most Finger Lakes wineries) was a very reasonable cost, $2 for five tastes. The day’s first wine was an outstanding 2007 Dry Riesling, a winner with a flavor of apples and a distinct mineral finish.
Batting second was the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a twist in that the predominate flavor was a grassy herbaciousness rather than citrus or melon. This was crisp and wonderful.
Our very accommodating server wanted to be sure we tasted the 2007 Chardonnay as a bonus sixth selection. Rich and buttery.
The 2006 Cerise is a Pinot Noir and Lemberger blend that is peppery with a strong cherry flavor. (Cerise is French for cherry.) Drink this wine young.
The 2007 Pinot Noir was a complex and flavorful offering, but the stars of the tasting were the 2007 Cabernet Franc and the 2006 Meritage. The 2007 Cab Franc is the “vintage of the decade” according to our server. The nose was powerful and this is a great barbeque wine.
The superb Meritage is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It shows layers of flavors with finesse. Flavor notes of blackberry, currants and pepper. As a sensational accompaniment, we sampled a chocolate truffle with the Meritage and the combination was a symphony for the taste buds.
Spiderman bagged a bottle of Meritage and I the Cab Franc was we headed through the rain to our next winery.