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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2005
Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2005
(search item no. 93794)
Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 96 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $26.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2008 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 90 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
2007 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 93 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2006 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
2006 The Wine News rating: 91 points
2001 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
1999 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
1999 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
1998 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

"Led in the nose by lots of concentrated, well-ripened berry-like fruit and filled out by a full measure of caramelly oak and rich, root-beer spice, this big-bodied offering follows up with intense flavors that are similarly keyed on sweet oak and very deep fruit. Full and fleshy in feel, if a slight touch hot and roughed up by enough finishing tannin to warrant a few years of age, the wine is a convincing look at Zinfandel and stands out as one of the best from Ravenswood in some time."
-Connoisseurs' Guide

California's Russian River means different things to different people. For the original natives, it was a life-giving cornucopia of fish, game, fruits and berries. For Russian trappers, it was a vast bank of sea-otter pelts. For the Americans who came later, it was a place of enormous redwoods, a prime spot for growing apples, finally a source of summertime inner-tube inspiration.

For wine buffs, it usually means cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But away from the coast, the Russian River has a different character. From its source in the Mendocino County highlands, its whitewater tumbles down past Cloverdale into the Alexander Valley, then winds through the hills behind Healdsburg before passing north of Santa Rosa to assume its familiar, civilized role. It's in the unpeopled sector of central Sonoma County that Ravenswood's Big River Zinfandel is grown. Despite the notoriety that surrounds it to the north, south, east and west, this spot remains a world of its own—a still, silent, secret realm that almost seems like something from Tolkien, existing outside time.

Under the stewardship of Scott and Lynn Adams, Big River is the most meticulously farmed vineyard that Ravenswood has the privilege of using. It's not an exaggeration to say that it's coddled by two mothers: Nature and Nurture. Its grapes respond with healthy, exuberant flavors that, if anything, tip toward the inland direction of Alexander Valley: rich, ripe, soft, round, plush, plummy and spicy. It's an amalgam of attributes that gives new meaning to the term Russian River.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Ravenswood:

About Ravenswood:

Fueled initially by the inspiration and winemaking skills of Joel Peterson, aided and abetted by his business partner W. Reed Foster, Ravenswood winery has been dedicated to top quality, hand-crafted wine since the first crush in 1976. Every Ravenswood wine carries a unique vintage and vineyard identity in addition to the intense powerful – gothic – character with which the winery has come to be associated.

A key to Ravenswood’s success is our long-standing relationships with over 60 independent grape growers. Vineyards are chosen for their location, age, yield and special flavor characteristics. At Ravenswood, we are devoted to working with growers who share our philosophy about high quality.

Ravenswood Vineyard Designate wines are made employing what winemaker Joel Peterson refers to as “stubborn and impractical” Old World enological practices. Wines are fermented in small wooden tanks using wild, natural yeasts and punched down by hand three to five times per day. The wines are characterized by intense, spicy aromas supported by rich, berry flavors and long, clean finishes.