Ravenswood 2011 Vintner’s Blend Old Vine Zinfandel

by Dennis Mayer | December 28th, 2012 | Wine

ravenWe’ve covered zinfandel before, but today’s is a zinfandel from California, which I think I neglect to cover in these reviews (unless we’re writing about really cheap California wine.) I’ll try to fix that in the coming weeks (though I’ll stop short of calling it a New Year’s resolution.)

Today’s wine is from a fairly well-known and well-regarded California winery. Ravenswood is a New World wine producer working out of Sonoma Valley in California. Ravenswood makes something of everything, but seem to specialize in zinfandel — they have released a whole line of select zinfandels to celebrate Sonoma heritage. This particular zinfandel is a blend, with 75 percent Zinfandel grapes, 16 percent petite Syrah, 6 percent Syrah, and 3 percent “mixed blacks.” (The last entry there seems to be a particular specialty of Ravenswood, and, according to them, of Sonoma’s traditional wine production. Ravenswood has even released a special edition “mixed blacks” wine.) For all of the care spent in devising that particular blend, this wine should be fairly smooth and well put-together.

How does it look? This zinfandel is a light-bodied,opaque violet color, with medium legs, suggesting this wine will be slight, but sweet.

How does it smell? I get rich, dark fruit odors on the nose — blackberry, blackcurrant — but not much else. There aren’t many tannins, and there’s not a lot of alcohol on the nose either, despite this wine’s robust 13.5 percent alcohol by volume.

But how does it taste? The same fruit-forward essence we noticed on the nose is there in the flavor. There are powerful, yet indistinct flavors of blueberry and blackberry. The wine isn’t overly sweet, but there aren’t any secondary flavors from tannins or aging. According to information from the winery, this zinfandel blend ages 10 months in oak, but I didn’t notice any on the taste or nose. Still, a nice wine.

What should I eat with it? Mild cheeses, raw or roasted vegetables, or a poultry dish. It’s not rich or tannic enough to stand up to a steak or roast beef, but for a lighter meal or a lunch, this would do just fine.PNM-3-corks

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