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Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2006

  • W&S95
750ML / 0% ABV
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4.1 16 Ratings
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4.1 16 Ratings
750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This unique vineyard in Sonoma Valley is an extension of the Oak Hill Organic Farm, owned and operated for many years by the now deceased Otto Teller, a sage octogenarian who employed no pesticides or irrigation. The 110-year-old vines are situated on a gravelly, well-drained hill that receive a full share of summer sun as well as cooling breezes. The crop level is seldom higher than one and a half tons per acre, and this scant tonnage - combined with the ideal growing conditions - produces exceptionally intense, spicy fruit.

A longtime favorite among hard-core Ravenswood fans, the Old Hill vineyard was planted in the 1880`s in the Valley of the Moon, just north of the town of Sonoma. This vineyard is like your most comfortable pair of old shoes - unparalleled. It is wonderfully consistent, from year to year, in its ability to please even the most discriminating palate.

Old Hill Zinfandel is Knockout nose combines sappy black fruits, black pepper and spicy, smoked meats; rather Rhone-like. Silky and sweet in the middle but with terrific flavor definition and cut. This has compellingly intense fruit and a very long, juicy, aromatic aftertaste. Would appear to be an outstanding vintage for this consistently excellent zinfandel bottling.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 95
Wine & Spirits
Otto Teller of Oak Hill Farm purchased 14 acres of abandoned vineyard across Highway 12 in 1981, a planting of mixed blacks that was about 100 years old at the time. He reclaimed the vines and farmed them naturally (without chemicals), sustaining what is the now the oldest vineyard among Ravenswood's vineyard designates. Those vines produced an expansive wine in 2006, stony, firm and powerful. At first it reads as a block of fruit packed into the tense architecture of its tannins. With air, it becomes finer, more supple, as the complex flavors of the varietal blend begin to show. Cellar this for ten years of more; as a California classic, this will grow only more collectible-and delicious-with long bottle age.
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Ravenswood

Ravenswood

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Ravenswood, California
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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 their long-standing relationships with over 60 independent grape growers. Vineyards are chosen for their location, age, yield and special flavor characteristics. At Ravenswood, they are devoted to working with growers who share their philosophy about high quality.

Ravenswood Vineyard Designate wines are made employing what 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.

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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 every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous 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, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

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Zinfandel

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Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. And it fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.

Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly expresses powerful notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often expresses red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics of juniper and menthol.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.

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, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.

VAD98408_2006 Item# 98408