An unexpected pleasure: Ravine Reserve Red 2007

I came across this wine when I was shifting some bottles around. What I don’t like about it is its size and weight: a very heavy glass and an awkward fat shape that doesn’t fit normal wine shelves. So rather than finding a new place to store it, I thought that I’d open it for supper. And I am very happy that I did!

We have drunk almost all of our Niagara 2007’s, and frankly I’m happy that we have. That year was the first really warm vintage of a string of warm vintages, and I felt that generally winemakers had misjudged the vintage. The exciting possibility of unusually ripe fruit led to wines with high alcohol and lower acidity, and often with too much oak exposure. While the ripe to over-ripe fruit could seem exciting at bottling, I feared that they wouldn’t stand the test of time. In my experience that prediction has held pretty true, with a few wonderful exceptions. The good thing is that when the next blockbuster vintage occurred in 2010, winemakers were better prepared and the wines produced had more elegance and balance.

The Ravine 2007 Reserve Red is one of the great exceptions. The wine is still dark ruby, with considerable translucence. Youthful, bright and luscious cherry and blackberry fruit remains at the core, with an earthy-leafy undertone, a suggestion of dried herbs, and a tobacco-leaf note that may be one of the main indications of age. The nose draws you in, and as I lingered over it, the earthy undertones came to the fore, and a very light and lifted menthol note appeared. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity, modest alcohol (a very surprising 12.3% on the label), with integrated,softening tannins. The fruit centres on the palate, and the savoury components remain underneath. At first the finish seems short, as the the fruit dissipates quickly, until you realize that it softly lingers on a delicate trace of tannins.

While this is a wine that could be cellared much longer, it is drinking so beautifully now that I have absolutely no regrets that we enjoyed it tonight. This is a lovely wine indeed.

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