Tag Archives: Dry Creek

A Trio of Ravenswood Zinfandel — Great Pairing for Your Holiday Meal

Zinfandel makes a great pairing with holiday meals. Flavors that range from bright and fruity to dark and spicy make Zinfandel an extremely food-friendly red wine, whether you’re serving turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables or beyond.

If your holiday get together also includes a variety of tastes when it comes to wine, Ravenswood has you covered. The Sonoma, California winery produces a variety of Zinfandels that are worthy of a spot at your table.

If you or your guests prefer red wine on the lighter to medium side, try the 2009 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel. This wine spent 14 months in 25% new French oak barrels.

Fun, fruity and approachable, this Zinfandel is bursting with ripe berries. The Vintners Blend has mouthwatering flavors of raspberry, plum and boysenberry, with a touch of black pepper at the end.

For those who like a little more oomph to their Zin there is the 2008 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel. This wine is 84% Zinfandel rounded out with 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignan and 2% mixed black grapes. The grapes come from vineyards in the Dry Creek, Sonoma, Alexander and Russian River Valleys.

Compared to the first Zinfandel, the Sonoma Zin has darker fruit notes. Black cherry, plum, blueberry and blackberry mingle with black pepper, cedar, tobacco and baking spices. The tannins, while more pronounced than with the Vintners Blend, are still soft and give a fuller structure to the wine. Well-balanced acidity and a nice lingering finish are sure to make this wine a crowd-pleaser.

For those who like their Zinfandel dark and intense there is the 2008 Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel. The grapes for this wine come entirely from the Teldeschi vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. The Zinfandel is blended with 20% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignan and 2% Alicante Bouschet. The wine spent 20 months in French oak, of which 31% was new.

The Teldeschi Zinfandel lures you in with aromas of black fruits, spice and chocolate. The taste is rich and exciting. Blackberry, dark plum and black cherry are layered with coffee, dark chocolate, nutmeg, cigar box and a hint of vanilla. Silky tannins give the wine a lush and velvety mouthfeel. The flavors in the wine continue to expand as it mixes with air so you may want to decant the bottle before serving.

Have your guests taste each wine and pick their favorite to enjoy during the meal, or start with the lightest Zinfandel and move to the heaviest as your feast progresses.

If you would rather pick one Zinfandel to serve at your meal, match the intensity of the wine with the intensity of the flavors in the food. If the dishes you’ll be serving are lighter, go for a fruit-forward, juicy Zinfandel. If your dishes are rich and hearty, serve a full-bodied Zinfandel that has spicy and earthy notes.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2009, $10. 13.5% abv.
Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2008, $16. 14.5% abv.
Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel 2008, $35. 14.5% abv.

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AG Pick: Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2009

It may seem odd that a winery would use its foe as label art, but Quivira has done just that. The animal pictured is one of the Dry Creek Valley’s wild pigs, a cross of the Russian boars and Italian pigs that were brought to the United States in the 1800s.

Though seemingly cute and innocent in the illustration, these wild pigs can be a nightmare for growers. Ripe Zinfandel grapes are irresistible to the pigs that are also prone to destroying deer fencing during their snacking.

Like the wild pigs, the weather too can be a struggle. Fortunately that wasn’t the case for Quivira in 2009, when consistent temperatures towards the end of the summer allowed the Zinfandel to ripen to a rare level of even maturity.

It’s not just the optimal growing season that makes the 2009 Quivira Dry Creek Zinfandel worthy of a spot at your dinner table. It is the addition of a supporting blend of grapes that enhance the Zinfandel base, elevating the wine to another level.

As described by winemaker Hugh Chappelle, “this wine exemplified our pursuit of the sum being greater than the parts.”

The wine is 83% Zinfandel, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Sirah, 3% Syrah and 2% Grenache. The grapes were hand harvested primarily from Quivira’s three certified Biodynamic and organic estate ranches.

The wine was aged for 14 months in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels, less than 20% of which were new.

In the glass the 2009 Quivira Zinfandel has a lot going on. Deep violet in color, the wine has aromas of ripe blackberry and boysenberry. These flavors continue to develop in the mouth, layered with intense notes of dark plum, leather, tobacco, cedar and a touch of black pepper. Chewy tannins give the wine a round and pleasant mouthfeel. The finish is extremely satisfying with lingering spicy dark fruit.

Full bodied and well balanced, this is a wine you’ll want to drink now – and often.

Pair this wine with steak, grilled lamb or chicken, pizza or spicy tomato-based dishes. Quivira’s favorite local pairing is wild pig sausage – a nod to their love/hate relationship.

A bottle of the 2009 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel costs $20.

alcohol 14.8% by volume

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