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Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2008

Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
  • WE95
  • W&S92
15% ABV
  • WE93
  • CG96
  • WE95
  • W&S95
  • RP92
  • WS90
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15% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 95
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.
W&S 92
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.
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Ravenswood

Ravenswood

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Ravenswood, Sonoma County, 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.

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.

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.

SOU167631_2008 Item# 112442