Ravenswood California Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2008
About This Wine: The Zinfandel from this vineyard has been revered by every winery that has made wine from it. The majority of Barricia is an old, low-production vineyard in a special location in Sonoma Valley. Due to the age of the vines and the dry farming practices, the crop level on these vines is low and the vine vigor minimal. This, of course, leads to very intense wines.<br/><br/> Additionally, the thick-skinned nature of the grapes and the predominant tannins work to maintain the perfect balance between fruit and structure.<br/><br/> Raspberry, cherry pie, cracked black pepper, and spice driven scents with hints of coffee and new leather add complexity to the aromas classically associated with Barricia vineyards. Delicious sweet red fruit favors at the heart of the wine give way to an intense finish with silky tannins and lingering flavors of blackberries and candied cherries. This is a wine with lovely structure and focus.<br/><br/> About The Winery: For as long as anybody cares to remember, this has been the credo (calling card? Battle cry? Team yell? Coat of arms?) of Ravenswood Winery in Sonoma, California. Expressing our commitment to full-flavored varietal wine — notably Zinfandel — it sums up our mission to capture everything a vineyard has to offer, and to promote it in a way that won't put people to sleep. Wine is, after all, one of the most fascinating and fun things in life, which is why Ravenswood winemaker Joel Peterson believes that it belongs on the table — not on a pedestal or in an ivory tower.<br/><br/> How did the name of Ravenswood become interchangeable with irresistibility? In the early 1970s, when California's claim to fame was the "best jug wine in the world," Joel's dream was to create wines that would rival the greatest of Europe. Turned out he wasn't dreaming: In his first vintage, 1976, he produced 327 cases of Dry Creek Zin that took first place in a prestigious San Francisco tasting. But despite the cult following and critical acclaim that began to swirl around its hypnotic logo, Ravenswood remained a roving boutique until the late 1980s, when its Vintners Blend program was launched. Conceived on Joel's conviction that, besides great wine, the world needs good, affordable wine ("a lake of wine an inch deep"), it redefined the concept of Best Jug Wine in the World.<br/><br/> Thanks to this and a few other things (not least, its tireless campaign against priggish elitism), Ravenswood acquired an informal reputation as the people's premium winery. In 1999 the company went public with a "Dutch auction" of shares offered over the Internet, and two years later Ravenswood was purchased by Constellation Brands, becoming part of its fine-wine division, Franciscan Estates — a productive partnership that kept the winery under Joel's control while providing greater resources for efficient operation and growth.<br/><br/> The picture has changed a bit since 1976. Following the original inspiration of wineries like Ravenswood, California has now shirked its once-wimpy status to a fault. But the more things change around our Sonoma headquarters, the more they stay the same. In this brave new enologically altered world, Ravenswood continues to set a stubborn standard for complex, balanced, uncompromising wine that captures everything a vineyard has to offer (and, we might add, nothing more).<br/><br/> About The Winemaker: Joel Peterson grew up on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay during the Dark Ages when California wine was judged by the type of jug it was bottled in. However, Joel's farsighted father Walter bucked the status quo by starting the San Francisco Wine Sampling Club, which studied fine wines from all over the world. Walter allowed his son to join the group's twice-weekly tastings when Joel was nine years old, carefully measuring the wine in the boy's glass — then his spittoon — to make sure everything was expectorated.<br/><br/> By the time he was a teenager, Joel thus had a working knowledge of European vineyards and vintages, along with a collection of headstrong opinions about what made good wine. After graduating from Oregon State University, he followed in the professional footsteps of his parents (both of whom were chemists), going to work as a laboratory scientist. On the side, he made money through wine writing and consulting, gaining a local reputation as a gifted taster (and tasteless punster).<br/><br/> Eventually it dawned on Joel that he had the background (not to mention the prejudices) to be an actual winemaker. Hence, he apprenticed with Joseph Swan — one of California's outstanding craftsmen of fine Zinfandel — to learn the art of traditional winemaking as practiced in Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 1976 Joel founded Ravenswood in partnership with fellow wine lover Reed Foster (a Harvard MBA gone astray) and over the next half-dozen years, their fledgling operation moved from the rear corner of one willing winery to another. When Ravenswood finally turned a profit after a dozen years of operation, they settled on the northern edge of Sonoma, where the winery's tasting room is located.<br/><br/> Joel is now acknowledged as a leader in California wine — an articulate spokesman and stylistic trendsetter who helped make Zinfandel the runaway phenomenon that it is today. If there were a California Winemaking Hall of Fame, he'd be a shoo-in for early induction — not just as a home-run hitter but as one of the most popular players in the majors. (It's said that even as a Little Leaguer he could handle the spitter with aplomb.)<br/><br/> Technical Analysis: <strong>Vintage:</strong> 2008<br/><br/> <strong>Varietal:</strong> 76% Zinfandel, 24% Petite Sirah<br/><br/> <strong>Appellation:</strong> Sonoma County<br/><br/> <strong>pH:</strong> 3.60<br/><br/> <strong>Aging:</strong> 20 Months, 100% French Oak; 33% New, 32% 1 Year Old<br/><br/> <strong>Ageability:</strong> 7-10 years<br/><br/> <strong>Alcohol:</strong> 14.5%<br/><br/>
Strong and robust with cherry, cinnamon, and spicy pepper on the nose. Pomegranate flavors, structured tannins well placed. Just like Joel says, "no wimpy wines", and so far I agree.
A very mellow and balanced wine. Have had $40 bottles of wine that weren't half as good.
Very smooth, fantastic flavor and it stands well on its own.
Great flavor and on of my favorite "Old Vine" Zin's. For the price, its unbeatable.
hey, I grabbed a footlong meatball marinara sub from Subway, and stopped by Kroger and saw this on sale for $5.69? (half price!) This wine married with that sub for life! A quality zin, ready to drink, this wine sang a beautiful tune on the back of my throat.
Happy with this Zin blend. I know I enjoy Ravenswood and I'm a sucker for blended anything, so... in the bag it went. Beautiful plum color. Thick, cloying nose. Yes, ok to toffee and jam, per the label. Yes, I'll agree with Stanleygan on the Meatball sub rec. It makes me think of deep red sauce and meat. Mmmmmm... The food pairing I made undoubtably didn't do it justice, but the wine was very nice, just the same, with my *&#$^% (too embarrassed to claim what I had it with) and also alone. Enjoy!!
Satisfactory solid simple flavor. Not much depth. Kind of spicy and and nice dark thick texture.
External Reviews for Ravenswood California Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel
The Vintners Blend has a rich, somewhat soft, moderately complex, spicy, ripe, raspberry aroma. The flavors are those of black cherries, mint and vanilla with a sturdy, slightly astringent finish. The freshness and youth they strive for in the Vintners Blend allow it to be released with slightly less barrel and bottle age.
A solid wine, with a firm texture and lots of plum and raspberry aromas and flavors. Hints at vanilla and turns a mite tannic on the finish, so probably best to drink after 1993.
Thick, rich, concentrated blueberry fruit, and bright, lively berry flavors hinting at raspberry give this wine that classic robust fruit of Zinfandel. Twelve months' maturation in a combination of new and old French oak barrels has rounded and fattened the wine while contributing notes of vanillin and subtle spice. Deliciously drinkable young for its precocious, soft, spicy berry fruit and lush texture.
Raspberries, blueberries, black cherries, and spicy hints of oak spring forthfrom the fruit-laden aroma of this wine. Well balanced with supple tanninsand a long, fruit-forward finish make this wine a pleasure to drink nowand for the next couple of years. A very sophisticated wine for the price.
Here you'll find an almost voluptuous, concentrated yet satiny-smooth expression of intense raspberry fruit. It opens into a focused, lingering wine that captured not only the essence of the grape but also the style of the vintage. All of Joel Peterson's wines are a pleasure to taste, this one is widely available.
Deep ruby. Black raspberry, cherry and licorice aromas, with a whiff of dried flowers. A fresh midweight, offering sweet red and dark berry flavors and a hint of cracked pepper. Turns more tangy on the finish, which leaves brisk berry and cherry skin notes behind.
The 1997 Zinfandel Napa (14.3% alcohol) takes first prize. Its saturated ruby/purple color is followed by a big, peppery, spicy nose with underlying minerals and black fruits. There is very good density in this appealing value. Drink it over the next 2-3 years.
Food Pairings for Ravenswood California Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel
Ripe, rich and flavorful, Lodi fruit from this vintage was very nice, with the big blueberry quality that is one of the hallmarks of Zinfandel from that region. With the addition of 23% Petite Sirah, the wine is soft, round and full. Very pleasing to drink by itself and with food.
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