Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2008
Cold weather demands big wine. Often Zinfandel can be too big, too oaky, too glycerol. On the other hand, its fruit can be unparalleled in intensity and the best also carry a mouthwatering savory quality. It can be hard to find one with all the positive qualities but none of the negative, especially at a reasonable price.
Ravenswood has a huge lineup of Zinfandel and has considerable holdings of Zinfandel vineyards all over California. The entry level wines are, unfortunately, verging on industrial and uninteresting. However, when you get to the single vineyard level with Ravenswood, the quality jumps considerably. Of all the single vineyard bottlings the Old Hill is one of the best.
Made with grapes from vines planted in 1880 in Sonoma Valley, this is a powerful, fruity wine with excellent balance and brambly savoriness, likely from the 25% of 13 varieties of non-Zinfandel grapes added to the field blend. Pure Zinfandel can offer incredible exuberance, but I find that when blended with other grapes, such as Petite Sirah and Carignan, that such wines gain far greater balance and structure and better drinkability. The Old Hill is an excellent example of this style at a very fair price for some of the oldest vine Zin in California.
$45 at BCLDB (similarly priced in the US)