Ravenswood has a long history with Zinfandel. It’s how Joel Peterson made his bones; and while they make many other wines now, Zinfandel is still very much their core. Vineyard Designates, County Series wines, state wide cuvee’s and more make up the array of Zinfandel offerings that Ravenswood produces annually. Each series or tier has different intents and aims in mind. The Vineyard Designated wines for instance are aimed at more seasoned wine drinkers who know Zinfandel pretty well and already understand to some degree, or want to experience that site to site diversity. Today I’ll look at one of the County Series wines. This tier is aimed at the everyday consumer who wants a glass of wine for dinner but needs to keep the cost modest. Wines in this series are often also excellent choices to bring to a large gathering. The 2006 Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel has Petite Sirah (21%) and Carignane (1%) blended in. This selection spent 18 months in 24-30% new French oak barrels. 84,000 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $12.
Black and red raspberry lead the nose of this Old Vine Zinfandel along with a nice helping of vanilla. The palate is loaded with dark, brooding fruit throughout. There are good elements of jam and hints of licorice as well. Tingly, lingering pepper spice emerges on the finish as well as chocolate notes. The Petite Sirah adds nice backbone to this wine and lends to its firm structure which is complemented by sufficient acidity.
This wine fulfills its intent. With 84,000 cases and a $12 price-point you want an offering that tastes like Zinfandel with Lodi characteristics. This wine achieves that and is a solid entry in the category of wines affordable enough for most to drink everyday. Look around and you’ll find it for closer to $9.