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2007 Ravenswood Zinfandel Vintners Blend California

It’s always nice to be able to recommend wines that are below $10 because they are just plain good, rather than “good for the money.” I tasted the 2007 Ravenswood Zinfandel Vintners Blend California blind in a flight of five northern California Zinfandels under $20. Despite being the least expensive in the bunch, I found it to be the most complex. On the nose I got a big whiff of raspberry and blackberry followed by vanilla, caramel, cocoa, leather and spice.

The body was satisfying, but not creamy, and the tannins fully integrated. This wine, and several of the others, had a hint of mouth watering acidity which is refreshing and, in my opinion, appropriate to Zinfandel but rare these days. [I like to think of Zinfandel as the wine that Sonoma County's 19th century Italian-immigrant farmers drank with their families at dinner, not a wine tuned for impact on the palate at the expense of one’s liver.] The alcohol content is 13.5%, dainty for a contemporary Zinfandel, and generated no heat at all. The finish is only average but, at $9.99, you can afford to take another sip to get the yummy flavors back.

Speaking of flavors, you’ll find black cherry, berry, vanilla, cocoa, coffee and a touch of funky smoke. The combination of flavors and aromas in such a smooth wine at 13.5% reminded me a bit of some California Pinot Noir. I see that as a good thing.

The Ravenswood Vintners Blend has complexity but doesn’t insist on being the center of attention. It will be perfectly happy at a picnic with fried chicken, on the patio with a burger or at the kitchen table with pizza. Drink now through 2011 (it’s at peak now and I don’t trust synthetic corks.) Recommended.


2007 Ravenswood Zinfandel Vintners Blend California
Rating: Recommended
Drink: Now through 2011
Retail Price: $9.99
Blend: 84% Zinfandel, 8% Carignane, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Mixed Blacks
Aging: 12 months in 100% French oak, 25% new

Alcohol: 13.5%

Closure: Synthetic Cork

This wine was received as a review sample.

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