2011 Ravenswood "Teldeschi" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (Elsewhere $30+)
Ravenswood takes its accustomed place at the head of the class with its collection of single-vineyard offerings from 2011, and, among the many of a very good lot, the Teldeschi bottling wins top honors once again. Leading with a sweetly perfumed nose of dark berries and briar with highlights of stony soil lending it a singular complexity all its own, the wine comes across as serious and even somewhat brooding on the palate, and, while fairly sturdy, it is never severe. It is as deep as or deeper than most Zins we have yet tasted from the vintage, and there is not an ounce of fat to found on its well-muscled frame. It can only improve in the decade to come.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Inky ruby. Heady, mineral-tinged aromas of blackberry, cassis, Smoky Indian spices and potpourri. Weighty and chewy in texture initially, then more lively and velvety in the mid-palate, offering sweet black and blue fruit flavors and a sexy violet pastille nuance. Shows excellent concentration with no excess weight thanks to bright acidity that lifts the long, spice-accented finish.
Wine & Spirits
The oldest vines in this zinfandel, petite sirah and carignane blend date to 1913 and 1919, planted on western-facing slopes of Dry Creek Valley benchland. That western exposure contributes to the sense of ripeness in the wine, but the old vines have sustained freshness in their fruit to keep it balanced. It smells like roasted meats and cherry skin, presenting its earthiness with frisky energy that leaves the mouth feeling clean and tasting good. The lovely richness will meld with slow-smoked beef ribs. (3,300 cases)
The Teldeschi Vineyard is comprised of 30 acres of vines planted between 1913 and 1919 in the gravelly clay loam of the Dry Creek bench. Ravenswood has purchased grapes from this distinguished old-vine vineyard since their earliest days in the 1970s, and now they are the benefactors of all of the fruit every year. Comprised of 78% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, and 4% Alicante Bouschet, the wine is fermented on native yeast before being aged for 19 months in 30% new French oak barrels. From the winery: "The 2011 Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel exhibits powerful aromas of black cherries, blackberry, coffee, vanilla, and exotic orange Bergamot spices to create the classic character of a great Dry Creek benchland Zinfandel. The palate is ripe with sweet cherry and licorice and a dense, spicy, mouthwatering finish."