Maker: Ravenswood, Sonoma, California
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 9 out of 10
Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2004 was a nice find. It is a full-bodied Zin, leading with intense cherry, raspberry, and plum fruits, then offering chocolate and smoke notes, and moving into a big finish with black pepper, oak, and modest tannins. This is a bold, palate-filling wine, and it would have been a great match with the flavorful and well-seasoned smoked sirloin I had the night before (if only the restaurant had offered it!).
If we have any complaint at all about this yummy wine, it’s that the Ravenswood County Series wines come in very similar-looking bottles. The only distinction is the county of origin, with a few also bearing the “old vine” distinction. This may be a strong branding statement, but the occasional wine drinker or random shelf-browser might well be confused or have difficulty remembering which variation he tried and liked. Stores, too, may hesitate to devote a lot of shelf space to a half-dozen similar-looking Zinfandels. Ravenswood has a page devoted to this wine where you can also sign up for their Zinsider newsletter from their Department of Zinformation. These guys really like their Zins…
In a characteristically well-written set of tasting notes, Style Gourmet declared this Zin “well-made, stimulating to drink, a little brassy and fun, with complexity if you want it.” Rhino Wine Times thought it was “good stuff.” Good stuff indeed!