No wimpy wines: That is the mantra at Ravenswood in Sonoma, which is a frontline Zinfandel producer if there ever was one. If you love Zins, you already know how bold, fruity, jammy and spicy they can be. They send your nostrils into overdrive and test your mettle with their body and alcohol.
Owner-winemaker Joel Peterson produces a line called the “County Series” — which emphasizes the authenticity of Zins produced in Lodi, Sonoma and Napa — all old-vine. Authenticity? He means “the unique expression of grape and place.”
Here’s a snapshot:
Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2009, $12.99: Intense, juicy, approachable, powerful and priced to sell. It’s meant for any red meat you grill. Look for sales. It overdelivers.
Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2009, $15.99: Lots of muscle; a belt of black cherry, blueberry and dark plum; spicy. It’s a gutsy field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and more. Serve with hearty stews, pot roasts and bold Italian sauces. These vines are 50 to 80 years old.
Ravenswood Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2010, $15.99: More brooding, earthy, with notes of cocoa and jammy cherry and blackberry. Bring on robust Italian sauces, grilled sausages and juicy, rare-cooked filet mignon. Such a fine price for a Napa wine.
It’s sorta a joke to Zin lovers that so many of the great California producers start with the letter R — Ravenswood, Rosenblum, Renwood, Rafanelli, Ridge.