Ravine Vineyard was not far from where we were staying in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We were staying in the Queenston area and the next to us was the St. Davids and the sub-appellation of the region known as St. Davids Bench, which is the warmest section of the entire region. The winery sits on thirty-four acres of land where they grow most of their own fruit, but they also buy additional fruit from other estates in the area. The farm was started over a hundred years ago and is still own by the same family and the Georgian home on the property is listed as one of Canada’s fifty most architecturally significant ancestral homes.
The tasting menu listed sixteen different wines plus two Ice Wines, which is what the area prides itself on. On our trip we tried six of the wines and those are the wines that I will mention. The first wine that we tried was the Sand & Gravel Chardonnay 2014. There were 450 cases of this wine made and it used five year old oak barrels for fermenting and aging for ten months. The wine had a bit of butter and sweeter fruit taste. We compared that to the Ravine Chardonnay 2013 that used three year old barrels and also aged for ten months. This wine was crisper, as opposed to buttery and had a dryer taste. Then we tried two white wines that were produced using Stainless Steel. The first of these two wines was the Ravine Gewurztraminer 2014 and it offered the classic spice of this wine, that I enjoy so much from some of the Michigan wineries as well. The other wine that we tried was the Ravine Chardonnay Musque 2014 and this is a grape found usually in the Niagara Peninsula and the Finger Lakes of New York. I really looked forward to this wine, as the last Musque that I had, was from Cain Vineyard and Winery in Napa Valley and we really enjoyed this Chardonnay with the perfumed fragrance of the Muscat grape. This was cold fermented to keep some of the natural “spritz” of the grape juice and we ended up taking some of this wine home with us. The last two wines that we tried were red wines. The Ravine Sand & Gravel Cabernet Franc 2014 was a given, especially for my Bride, as she never misses the chance to have some of this grape. Five hundred-thirteen cases of this wine was produced and aged in oak for nine months. The wine was not as full bodied as I had hoped for, from this grape, but it was well produced. The last of the red wines that we tried was not even listed on the tasting menu, as it was just released and it was the Ravine Merlot 2013 and I had to try it, instead of their Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was a blend of estate grapes and from the Farinacci Vineyard and there was some tannins that would sustain some aging for this wine that was aged in a mix of new and older oak barrels for nine months.
The Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery also maintains a restaurant, but we did not stop there. It was another winery that was very busy while we were there, as another tour bus had stopped with a full contingent of wine tasters and they were all having fun. Our host for the tasting had also mentioned how some of the fruit was grown on different parcels of land on the estate, because the grounds had different types of soils and some were more similar to Pomerol or the Burgundy area of France. I would suggest a tasting from this winery, if you are in the area.