By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief


Pinot noir in the Finger Lakes? Absolutely, but if you're interested in high-quality stuff, make sure you know a little bit about the winery you're buying it from.

The best Finger Lakes pinot noirs are made by wineries that are, of course, buying or growing fruit in the best places along the lakes, but there is one other key factor — crop load, the amount of grapes ripened and harvested per acre.

Some wineries harvest 4 or more tons of pinot per acre, which is possible and can work in the best years (2007 comes to mind). But, the top pinot noir-making wineries — the wineries that can be counted on for consistent quality in this cool climate region — typically max out at around 2 tons per acre. 

Ravines Wine Cellars is one such winery that pays by the acre rather than by tonnage. That means winemaker Morten Hallgren can give his growers more stringent direction when it comes to dropping fruit.

The nose on this Ravines Wine Cellars 2007 Pinot Noir ($23) is toasty and earthy (think dried leaves and herbs) with baking spice sprinkled over red cherries and cherry compote.

The cherries are a bit brighter and prominent on the palate, where they are overlaid with toasty spice, plums and more earthiness. Silky and medium bodied, this wine finishes with a cherry pie flavor that lingers nicely.

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

Price: $23*

Rating: 30 (3 out of 5 | Recommended)

(Ratings Guide)