Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Keuka Village (2011) Is Spring’s Saucy Little Red

Keuka Village Red (2011) and truffles make nice. Photo from Ravines Wines.


spring is such a tease. Winter’s gray skies burn off into gorgeous incandescent blues. Warm breezes park themselves above us, foretelling hot days ahead.

But ever the faithless flirt, spring flits the scene, leaving us once again with a windchill, the threat of flurries at night, and the baffling sensation of having been stood up. Nevertheless, if spring ever wanted to come around again, there we would be, following without question.

Saucy, fun, playful and light, who wouldn’t want to bask in spring’s glory? Now there’s a wine that’s perfect for these fun, fickle but promising times. Typically, rosés have been the fashionable choice for the past three years, but let me introduce you to a novel alternative: a curious wine from the Finger Lakes region.

Narrator: Finger Lakes. Are you a Riesling?
Curious Wine (CW): Mais non, cherie. (I did say the wine was a flirt?)
Narrator: Red or white?
CW: Rouge. Red.
Narrator: Wait – you’re not French?
CW: Non, non, non! Moi, je suis Americain. New York.
Narrator: OK. Whatever. Finger Lakes, NY, and not a Riesling. Are you a Lemberger?
CW: Good guess, but not quite (batting eyelashes).
Narrator: Awww, come on!
CW: Do you give up?
Narrator: Yeah.
CW: So easily? (Pouting a little – just a little.)
Narrator: Ya got me.
CW: Well, alright. Ravines Wine Cellars' Keuka Village Red 2011. I’m just a basic red.

Yeah, and you fell for that. Like I said, this wine is saucy.

A Different Type of Fruit Forward
The label reads wine, but understand that the first impression – the aroma from the bottle (nose) – is redolent of grapefruit. Ripe, juicy, luscious grapefruit.

Like spring flowers, the Keuka Village Red suggests something wonderful. Photo courtesy of Swirus71.

Thankfully, the hands know the difference between a wine bottle and a juice jug because by now the brain is fully scrambled. Which one to trust? The nose or the fingers? Can they possibly go together? I mean, really now: grapefruit? In a wine? Seriously? Is Ravines Wine Cellars putting one over on us?

The grapefruit nose continues to tumble out of the bottle, as if a freshly peeled skin lay nearby. Red wine, but of a curiously light shade, tumbles into the glass, more reminiscent of red currant juice than the rich deep tones of a Petit Syrah. Intriguing, but then again, it’s time for a reality check. We’ve all had our wine hopes dashed before.

Then the first sip. Confirmed: like spring that sneaks up and surprises, the Keuka Village Red is like a grapefruit twist in a dry (not sweet) red wine. A few more seconds after the first sip (middle palate) and a hint of black pepper, reminiscent of a Pinot Noir, creeps in. Then, like a flash, the pepper’s gone and the lingering taste (long finish) scrawls a fleeting reminder: “Citrus was here.”

Keuka Village Red (2011) puts step into spring. Photo from Ravine Wines.

Blast from the Past, Updated
Now, before instantaneously dismissing the combination as disgusting, think back to all those retro ‘80s wine spritzers. What was that, if not wine with a lemon twist? Simply forgo the diluting seltzer, switch the wine from a white to light red, and change the lemon to grapefruit. Voilà!

Hmmm. Not quite sure what to do with this one? Can Keuka Village Red seem like a beautiful spring day full of promise that has everybody scrambling for jackets, completely confusing the senses? Well, yes, I’ll buy that, but in this case, let me provide a bit of context. Think of an appetizer or entrée that would benefit from a splash of citrus, especially grapefruit:

Hummus with roasted peppers and pine nuts
A mild cheese with apples and olives
Baked sea bass
Roast duck
Country sausages
Artisanal pizza with drizzled olive oil

The slight grapefruit undercurrent in the light red wine would cut through both oiliness and heaviness, leaving a refreshingly clean taste.

What's missing from this spread? Keuka Village Red! Photo by Lenka Pužmanová.

Like that stunningly unanticipated spring day, Keuka Village Red is a bold refreshing choice for those who take chances on something new or different. Some will welcome the change of pace, while a few might find its novel twist too striking. What to do? Cover your bases. For only $13, buy it; buy a favorite backup “Plan B” bottle, open both, and let your friends try them for themselves.

Ravines Wine Cellars 2011 Keuka Village Red: such a flirt, but a (charmingly) unexpected one, too.

Ravines Wine Cellars
2011 Keuka Village Red
(Cabernet Franc & Noiret blend)
$13; Order directly from the producer,

Next up: Wine 101: What's in a year? Rx

No comments :

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
Based on a work at .
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at .