2013 Ravenswood "Old Hill" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel (Previously $45)

SKU #1274713 92 points Wine & Spirits

 Old Hill Vineyard—one of the oldest in Sonoma County, planted in 1885—was covered in brush when Otto Teller purchased it in 1981. Rather than ripping out the vines, he cleared the weeds and blackberry canes and began selling the fruit to Joel Peterson at Ravenswood, who has bottled an Old Hill Zinfandel for more than 30 years. This is a vintage worth laying down; the old zin vines and other sundry varieties, including grenache, grew a muscular red that carries a suggestion of ferny undergrowth in its cool, minty aroma. The wine tastes of fruit skin rather than oak or alcohol, with a dark-berried intensity that should keep it in good form for ten years or more.  (2/2016)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 This year's Old Hill offering breaks a bit from the familiar model and is both a little less brawny than past efforts have been and slightly toned down in overt fruitiness. It is full-bodied, fairly tight and steers to stony soils and briary spice with subtle, somewhat muted notes of ripe berries constantly in the background, and, while solidly structured and clearly built for keeping, it is not unduly tough and even distantly suggests that in four or five years at least a touch of claret-like refinement just might lie ahead.  (1/2016)

K&L Notes

75% Zinfandel, 25% Mixed Field Blend - Old Hill Vineyard is located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley with some of the oldest vines in Sonoma County planted in 1885. There are at least 30 different grape varieties on the property but it’s blended to be around 75% Zinfandel.

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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.


- 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.
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).