Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2008

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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)


  1. Sean
    November 28, 2013

    I’m drinking this right now after seeing your recommendation – and I love it. It has delicious deep flavours, without being over the top. It’s definitely a Zinfandel to savour.

  2. Shea
    November 28, 2013

    Hey Sean, agreed. You make me want to get another bottle. I love the fact that it’s true zin in intensity but balanced.

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