2008 Ravenswood "Old Hill" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel (Previously $60)

SKU #1148447 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 A tremendous Zinfandel, Ravenswood’s most expensive, and while you might quiver at the price, it’s easily a very great wine. This is Zinfandel on steroids, a monster of wild summer berry, tobacco, currant and spice flavors, wrapped into significantly thick tannins. Yet despite the power, it never quite loses elegance and balance. The winery’s 2007 was their greatest Zinfandel ever, and this one isn’t far behind.  (12/2011)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky ruby with a bright rim. Powerful aromas of dark cherry and black raspberry are complicated by potpourri and dark chocolate, with a hint of spicecake coming up with air. Juicy, penetrating cherry and dark berry flavors are sweetened by a sexy oak note and show no rough edges. Turns more floral with air and picks up supple tannins. Extremely alluring wine with impressive finishing lift and sappy length. As attractive as this is now, I'd hold off drinking it for another five-plus years, at least.  (6/2010)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 **Two Stars** Ravenswood's Old Hill Zinfandel often comes across as tougher and tighter than its cellarmates, and that is once again the case here. A big, deeply fruited and very well-focused wine in 2008, this version gradually drifts to tannin and curt acidy after a very showy start. It is a gutsy, solidly structured wine that demands patience, and if it requires a good five years before reaching its stride, it has all of the right stuff in all of the right places to last for a decade or two.  (5/2011)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Old Hill (named for the original farmer, not the topography) is a collection of ancient mixed blacks planted in 1851. Farmed today by Will Bucklin and his family, who have identified at least 14 varieties in the mix, predominantly zinfandel, plus grenache, petite sirah, carignane and alicante. Joel Peterson has made a single-vineyard wine from Old Hill since 1983 and knows the vines intimately. His 2008 has a sophisticated sort of rusticity, a wine that tastes more of the soil in its black and brawny tannin than of all the purple and blueberry fruit flavor above it. The structure only takes it deeper into darkness and savory earth with air. Decant it if you open the bottle now, to serve with game, whether roast boar or moose.  (10/2011)

Jancis Robinson

 Deep crimson and some brown at rim. Beautifully complex aroma: blueberry and a touch floral and fragrant tea leaf. But wild herbs too. Fully ripe but no overripeness and no greenness. So refined, a touch honeyed. Texture is utterly soft but not at all flabby. So refined. There's a sort of molasses sweetness on the nose but not as sweet as that suggests. Beautiful wine. Essence of great Zin and great old California vineyards. 19/20 points.  (9/2013)

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Price: $39.99
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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 15