Ravenswood – Decades of producing old vine Zinfandel that reflects the vineyard and not the winemaker’s style. Joel Peterson, Ravenswood’s founder and winemaker to this day, was doing the rounds recently here in New York City. I had a chance to sit with him and taste through much of the line-up they are releasing in the coming months.

The commitment to expressing the unique traits of these blocks of old-vine Zinfandel, in many cases actually field blends, comes through not only in the passionate way Joel relates to each wine but in the commitment to a winemaking style that has consistently produced stellar results.

Snooth contributor Gabe Sasso had a chance to sit down with Joel over lunch and recorded his impressions, which can be found here. I enjoyed tasting through the line-up and found quite a few great examples, but all of these wines - the 2007 Vineyard Designate Zins - won’t be on the shelves for another month or two.  While you’re waiting for these wines to hit the retail shelves, I suggest you take a look at ready to drink vintages from Ravenswood. I’ve chosen a pair of wines from the vineyards that always stand out in this great line-up.

What to expect: Zinfandel

Zinfandel is considered America's great indigenous grape, even though its origins lie on the Adriatic coast. Planted throughout California and in to the Pacific Northwest, Zinfandel is at its best in warm regions with cooler temperatures during harvest. The wines can range from off-dry Roses, the ubiquitous White Zinfandel, to light bistro styled wines, big, rich powerful wines and even luscious dessert bottlings. The flavors range from plummy to raspberry, though deep blackberry fruit and brambly spice tones are most common.