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Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel 2006
Lorenzo's father had settled in the Alexander Valley. Franco (who, upon coming to America, began calling himself Frank) planted his own vineyard and sold grapes to Italian home winemakers in San Francisco. Sometime later, during the 1970s, a young winemaker came to their house in Dry Creek Valley and asked if he could buy some grapes for his new winery, Ravenswood. He and Frank sat down under a tree and Frank opened a bottle of his homemade wine; four hours later Joel Peterson could hardly walk, but he had a deal for a few tons of Zinfandel—a grape that, if God could grow it in only one place, He would grow it in Dry Creek Valley.
Today Frank's son John is also a grapegrower, and the Teldeschis still sell fruit to home winemakers. But a few years ago their truck blew up near the Golden Gate Bridge, so John doesn't deliver grapes to San Francisco any more. This turned out to be another break for Joel, who swears that he didn't do anything to the truck but does now produce a wine made exclusively from Teldeschi grapes. Some of the vines are 90 years old, and the grapes are the classic Italian-Californian field blend: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane. But Zinfandel was Lorenzo's favorite, so it's mostly Zinfandel.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
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.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.