Ravenswood makes so many different wines it's hard to keep up with everything they're doing. Generally speaking there are three designations to the Ravenswood Family of Wines, Vintners Blend, County Series and Vineyard Designates. The Vinters Blends serve the everyday drinking crowd looking for affordability and value, while retaining varietal character. The County Series seems to take a harder focus on what a particular varietal does in a given area. The Vineyard designates are just that. I'm going to look at one of their County Series Zinfandels today, with a couple more to come in the next few weeks. The 2007 Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel is sourced from a variety of vineyards throughout the county. This offering is 86% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah and the balance Carignane. Aging was done in French oak for 18 months; 30% of the barrels were new. 22,000 cases of this Zinfandel were produced and the suggested retail price is $18.
There were two things in my head when I sat down to taste this wine. One is the simple fact that when it comes to Ravenswood, Zinfandel is their calling card. The other is that I'm always pleased to see Petite Sirah blended in with Zin or vice versa. They strike me as incredibly natural partners, and the combined effort, is so often, greater than the sum of the parts.
Plum, blueberry and cloves fill the nose of this Napa Valley Zinfandel. Throughout the palate, berry and spice notes continue and fill your taste buds with layers of flavor. Continued berry, emerging earth, and a wallop of additional spices are all part of an impressive finish. This wine has good acidity and a firm tannic structure. This will be an excellent match for a burger, lamb chops, or other full flavored foods.
This Zinfandel is tight out of the bottle right now, and in need of decanting, if you want to enjoy it today at its best. If you can wait, lay it down for several years and it should both soften and come together into an even more impressive package. I went back to this wine 3 times after it had been open for 24, 48 and 72 hours. The first two times I went back it was drinking better than it had previously. The third time it was holding its own. In any case, an impressive Zinfandel for its price-point, which fulfills the intent of showcasing true Zinfandel character and Napa Valley origins.