Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2008
Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
The 2008 Old Hill is a wine that is refined, but assertive. Powerful ripe aromas of mint, cedar, vanilla and dark chocolate are underpinned by the full fruit character of Bing cherries and black raspberries. Big and rich on the palate, the dark fruit and spice flavors persist in a long finish enveloped in delicious vanilla and toasted almond flavors infused by the judicious use of French oak aging. This is an extremely alluring wine that is attractive now but, as most past vintages from this vineyard have demonstrated, will continue to get more interesting for many years.
Wine Enthusiast - "A tremendous Zinfandel, Ravenswood's most expensive, and while you might quiver at the price, it's easily a very great wine. This is Zinfandel on steroids, a monster of wild summer berry, tobacco, currant and spice flavors, wrapped into significantly thick tannins. Yet despite the power, it never quite loses elegance and balance. The winery's 2007 was their greatest Zinfandel ever, and this one isn't far behind."
Wine & Spirits - "Old Hill (named for the original farmer, not the topography) is a collection of ancient mixed blacks planted in 1851. Farmed to day by Will Buckliln and his family, who have identified at least 14 varieties in the mix, predominantly zinfandel, plus grenache, petite sirah, carignan and alicante. Joel Peterson has made a single-vineyard wine from Old Hill since 1983 and knows the fines intimately. His 2008 has a sophisticated sort of rusticity, a wine that tastes more of the soil in its black and brawny tannin than of all the purple and blueberry fruit flavor above it. The structure only takes it deeper into darkness and savory earth with air. Decant it if you open the bottle now, to serve with game, whether roast boar or moose."
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. View all Ravenswood Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineriesRelated Links:
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.