Ravines Wine Cellars Pinot Noir paired with trofie and arugula pesto

Ravines Wine Cellars Pinot Noir

Last year, my husband Marc and I made our very first trip to the Finger Lakes. Evan Dawson, the brilliant wine writer for The New York Cork Report, was entirely responsible for the decision to head north. His passion for the wines of the Finger Lakes convinced me that I should take a closer look at the region.

(In an earlier post, I’ve written about our first meeting with Evan, and our visit to Hermann J. Wiemer winery. If you’d like to read it, click here.)

On the eve of our departure, Evan graciously emailed me a chapter of his soon-to-be-published book, Summer in a Glass. I was grateful to get an insider’s peek. Evan’s writing brims with passion for grapes, wines and the Finger Lakes. Marc read it aloud as I drove, our excitement growing with every page.

The chapter in question was about Morten Hallgreen, the talented winemaker of Ravines Wine Cellars. By the time Marc had read the last line, we were 30 minutes away from Ravines. We decided we needed to pop in, even though the tasting room was about to close.

Five or six wines were poured, all of them excellent, but the Pinot Noir caught my eye. As the wine trickled into our glasses I smiled: the color! Ruby with garnet hues; it was so light that you could see your hand right through the glass. Making a Pinot Noir this pale took some courage. But having just heard about Morten’s extraordinary journey as a winemaker and his relentless dedication to his craft, I knew we were in for a treat. I couldn’t wait to take sip.

Ravines Wine Cellars Pinot Noir


Ravines Wine Cellars Pinot Noir

Producer: Ravines Wine Cellars
Region: Finger lakes
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2008
Alc: 12.5%
Price: $23
I recommend decanting the wine for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Swirling and sniffing the Ravines Pinot Noir is pure pleasure. The wine is bright, youthful, alive, and bursting with aromas of red cherry, plum, strawberry, white pepper, violet, vanilla and earth – a lot going on for such a young wine! Every taste bud is now begging for a sip.

And all those gorgeous aromas that filled the nostrils now amply expand in the mouth. Delicate notes of cedar and herbs follow. Light-bodied with bright acidity and soft, ripe tannins, this Pinot Noir is nonetheless intensely flavorful. As a last teaser, it offers a lengthy finish. Such great structure and flavors make this a marvelous wine to enjoy with food.

Since warmer temperatures are here to stay for some time and since fresh, local vegetables are now abundant, I wanted to pair Ravine’s Pinot Noir with a light summer dish. This trofie with arugula pesto and flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes ended up being just right.

The acidity in the wine is perfectly at ease with the tart-but-sweet cherry tomatoes, all the while keeping the pesto sauce in check. But the thing that’s most striking is how perfectly the body of the wine matches the lightness of the dish.

Tucking away a couple of bottles of this delightful Pinot Noir seems like a very good idea. Undoubtedly, it’ll have many more gifts to bestow in a few years.

I’ll always be grateful to Evan Dawson for introducing me to the winemakers of the Finger Lakes. Through his eyes, words and palate I’ve been able to connect with their work in a deeper way. The wines become personal, intimate. The winemakers Evan writes about don’t just put their craft in their wines, they put their soul too. A pursuit as thrilling as the quest for terroir.

Trofie with arugula pesto and flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes with garlic scapes

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12 Comments

  • Reply Evan Dawson June 24, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Viviane – What a wonderful way to return from vacation! Cherry tomatoes and garlic scapes are just about my favorite local summer veggies. Your take on the Pinot is typically astute; it shows real intensity that belies its elegant hues. Morgan and I will follow this recipe to the inch and report back. Thanks for another inspiring post!

    • Reply Viviane June 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Evan, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment – you’re the one who’s inspiring! Let me know how the recipe turns out and how you and Morgan like it with the wine. I’ll be sitting on pins and needles now!

  • Reply Peggy June 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I’ll definitely have to look into picking up a copy of that book! Sounds like a great read =)

    Especially if it inspires such great dishes like this one!

    • Reply Viviane June 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Peggy, you will adore Evan Dawson’s book! It’s a page turner and you might find yourself on the way to the Finger Lakes before you finish it! Thank you so much for your comment. Cheers!

  • Reply Suzi May 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Funny, I was wondering about making arugula pesto. I eat arugula nearly everyday in a spinach salad and I knew the peppery flavor would work well as a pesto for pasta. Yours looks wonderful and I am going to give it a whir. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Reply Viviane May 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Thank you Suzi! I’m sure you would love this pesto… It has spunk! Enjoy the last remaining hours of the weekend too…

  • Reply Liz May 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I’m always looking for wine recommendations…as I know nothing about the subject! So, thank you…and I’m eying that gorgeous pasta again…mmmmmm.

    • Reply Viviane May 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you Liz! The Ravines Pinot Noir is a delightful wine… I hope you get to sample it soon. Cheers!

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