About This Wine: High-tones blueberry and raspberry fruit notes wrap themselves around a core of sweet cherry dusted...Read more...
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Food Pairings for Ravenswood Zinfandel Chauvet Vineyard
About This Wine: High-tones blueberry and raspberry fruit notes wrap themselves around a core of sweet cherry dusted in kitchen spice. A perky, bright acidity makes this a perfect wine with food but the silky finish invites you to kick back and just enjoy a glass or two.<br/><br/> <strong>History:</strong> In 1850, a young miller by the name Joshua Chauvet left his home in France and made a journey around Cape Horn to San Francisco. Skilled as a baker, he ran a successful bakery and general store and eventually purchased 500 acres of land in Sonoma from General Vallejo. Although the mill on the property was his main business, his intent all along was to plant the ranch to grapes. In 1874, he made his first commercial wine and within five years his winery's output was over 52,000 cases of wine. Not a bad little operation for a baker from Champagne.<br/><br/> Today the historic Chauvet ranch is a mere ten acres, but is still growing Zinfandel and producing enviable wines. Located on the valley floor in the heart of Sonoma, the soil is rich, holding moisture so the vines can remain dry farmed. California Zinfandel clones, St. George rootstock, organically farmed....nothing Joshua would have done differently.<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> 2006<br/><br/> <strong>Wine Type:</strong> Red Wine<br/><br/> <strong>Varietal:</strong> 100% Zinfandel<br/><br/> <strong>Appellation:</strong> Sonoma County<br/><br/> <strong>Alcohol:</strong> 15.4%<br/><br/>
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