This is part 2 of my Twitter wine exchange. In case you missed the first part, here is a quick rundown:
One of the people I have been randomly talking to through Twitter is Kevin Widmer, who goes by the obscure Twitter name of @billybuttock. The rules of our wine exchange were simple: you send me a bottle, I’ll send you a bottle. The only stipulation was that the wine had to be under $20 retail.
In the first part, I reviewed the Caparone Sangiovese, the wine that I sent. In this review, I’m dealing with the Ravines Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes.
Much the same as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling changes its flavor profile in a huge way when planted on different soils, and when grown in warm or cool climates.
The first descriptor that enters most peoples’ head when Riesling is mentioned is SWEET! That’s not a million miles from the truth, all Riesling’s contain at least a little sugar, however the grape also contains a high level of acid therefore adding a certain amount of counterbalance.
I once heard a Master Sommelier describe most Riesling’s as “…wine without plastic surgery”. What he was referring to was the fact that most winemakers choose to put Riesling through less winemaking techniques
Riesling is most often fermented in neutral vessels: stainless steel, cement, or old, old oak. The beauty of the variety lies in its incredible aromatics and multi-faceted fruit flavors which would be lost if the wine were put into new oak.
Ravines Wine Cellars is a small winery located in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, and is a joint venture between Morten and Lisa Hallgren, a European Winemaker/ Oenologist and his Chef/Foodie wife. Morten was raised in the Provence region of the South of France, went on to work at Chateau Cos d’Estournel in Bordeaux and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
New York is the only state east of the Pacific Coast that produces a truly significant volume of wine. It is responsible for around four percent of the national total, but this figure is rising.
Because of the winter cold, most New York vineyards are located near large bodies of water. This serves to moderate temperature, making winters less cold/harsh, and summers less hot. It’s worthwhile noting that the most significant AVA’s in New York are named after either lakes, rivers or islands.
My experience with New York Riesling is kind of limited. Upon tasting the Ravines for the first time it reminded me very much of some of the drier Australian Rieslings (except with the gasoline notes I always seem to get).
The nose shows bold lime, green apple, and white flowers. Dry is a HUGE understatement on this wine! I almost needed a glass of water after finishing the glass!
Lemon and lime zest, big minerality, sugar nowhere to be found, and acidity that takes hold of your taste buds and won’t let go!
If you are a big fan of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and want your mind changing about Riesling, make sure you look this one up!
One of the key advantages of Riesling is its ability to pair with a huge array of foods. It pairs well with foods as diverse as spicy Asian, Chinese, Cajun, Tex-Mex, roasted pork, roasted duck, seafood, Thai food and even salad dressings with vinegar.