With a terroir ideally suited for the growth of some of the world’s premier grapes, it’s no surprise to discover world-class, award-wining wines in the Finger Lakes. Now, in collaboration with Ravines Wine Cellars, two Hobart and William Smith-themed wines share a place on those storied shelves.
The HWS Pulteney Reserve Dry Riesling 2019 features a delicate bouquet with intricate aromas of white flowers mingled with pear, apple and citrus. HWS Boathouse Red 2018 is a blend of Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that results in a balance of dark fruit, savory herbs and minerality.
Ravines, opened by owners Lisa and Morten Hallgren P’19 in 2002, is known for producing terroir-driven, dry and mineral-tinged wines using Old World winemaking practices. Over the past two decades, Lisa, a chef, and Morten, a French-trained oenologist, have expanded their operation to include 130 acres of prime estate vineyards, two year-round tasting rooms, a wine club, wine and food pairing experiences and The Ravinous Kitchen, a seasonal farm-to-table eatery.
First planted in New York State in the 1950s, the Riesling grape is the most widely grown of the vinifera (European) varieties in the region and is considered the signature grape of the Finger Lakes. Ravines Dry Rieslings have appeared on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines in the World list four times. The Hallgrens have accumulated numerous national awards and international accolades over the years, including 2003 Best Dry Riesling in the World Riesling Cup for their very first vintage, Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries, New York Times Top 10 Wine Experiences of the year and Food & Wine’s Best Winery Kitchens. Their Pinot Noir is the only Finger Lakes Pinot Noir to earn 90 points in the Wine Spectator.
Lisa Hallgren explains that “our vineyards are naturally expressive because of their soil content and meso climates. We then grow grapes at low yields so the vines have less grapes to ripen and yield higher quality, concentrated fruit with more complexity. Hand-picked fruit, gentle extraction techniques, detail work in the cellar and prudent barrel aging are some of the methods we use to of produce polished, elegant red wines.”
Professor of Economics William Waller P’99, P’04, P’09, P’13, who teaches “An Introduction to Wine,” enjoyed a tasting of the new HWS wines. “The Boathouse Red is a very rich and flavorful red, unusual for a cold-climate red,” he says, while noting that “the Pulteney Reserve Dry Riesling is a classic expression of the grape with astonishingly concentrated flavors — perfect for just sipping and looking at the fall colors on Seneca Lake.”
The Finger Lakes remains one of the top wine-producing regions in the U.S., with an estimated economic impact of more than $6 billion.
The Hobart and William Smith special cuvées are available in the Ravines tasting room on Seneca Lake and online at hws.edu/wines.
The Colleges’ share of the proceeds will go to support financial aid.