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Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2006

Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
  • WE92
  • W&S92
15.7% ABV
  • WS91
  • WE90
  • CG90
  • CG93
  • CG96
  • RP91
  • RP90
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3.4 10 Ratings
15.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2006 vintage of Big River Zinfandel expresses the most pure characteristics of old vine Zinfandel with a combination of concentration, complexity, and a richness that is unsurpassable. This wine is big, round, and berry filled, with almost a hint of dill, yet filled with jammy and raspberry characteristics. You'll notice immediately the spicy, plumy character of this particular wine in the nose. Its soft, round, plumy flavors are the essence of old vines expressing their "old vineness."

"Bright ruby. Sexy, pungent aromas of cassis, blackberry and Asian spices. Deep, sweet and sappy, offering round, supple dark berry preserve flavors and good spicy snap. Impressively balanced for such a rich wine, with outstanding finishing sweetness and length."
-International Wine Cellar 92-94

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
A gorgeous wine, the best Big River that Ravenswood has ever produced. Has everything you want in a Zinfandel. It displays rich, peppery blackberry and currant fruit, splendid tannins, crisp acidity, fine dryness and a long, impressive finish. The high alcohol is not out of place.
W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
From vines planted in the 1890's on benchlands between the Alexander and Russian River Valley's, Big River produced a fat zin in 2006. The stalwart structure allows it to expand into a juicy middle, where the deep mineral tannins are saturated by the floral black fruit before they tighten up around it. Decant a bottle for roast lamb.
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Ravenswood, Sonoma County, California
2006 Big River Zinfandel
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.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.


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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

CWW17516F_2006 Item# 96889