Ravines_08argetBy Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Often in the wine world certain wineries or vineyards are noticed by a writer or two and a huge mountain of hype ensues — sometimes warranted and sometimes not.

If you've been paying attention to the Finger Lakes region for very long, you've heard the hype about Ravines Wine Cellars and winemaker Morten Hallgren. If you're a bit more of a geek, you've probably heard about Sam Argetsinger and his vineyard on Seneca Lake.

In this case, the hype is warranted.

If I were to start a winery in the Finger Lakes, Morten would be on the short list of winemakers I'd try to lure away. And even though I have never met Sammy (as he's known), I feel like he's spoken to me through the grapes he grows.

It's too early in this wine's development to say for sure, but Ravines Wine Cellars 2008 Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling ($24) may well prove to be a benchmark for dry riesling in the Finger Lakes. 

The 2008 year, particularly among drier styles, led to some wines that are so acidic that they go beyond crisp or even electric and go all the way to harsh and unbalanced. This wine moves towards that boundary, but is ultimately balanced and in-your-face elegant.

The nose is explosively expressive, with fresh tarragon leading into classic aromas of bright peach, citrus and citrus blossom, and slate.

Showing the lively tension I love so much in top-flight riesling because of zesty, citrusy acidity, the palate is a bit more floral with a core of ripe peach and a sprinkling of tarragon and basil. Expertly balanced, the finish is lengthy and ends on a slate and faintly tart, pithy note.

Producer: Ravines Wine Cellars
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12.5%

Price: $24*

Rating: 40
(4 out of 5 | Delicious, Distinctive

(Ratings Guide)