Ravenswood wines really represent the entire spectrum of California Zinfandels.

Ravenswood was started by Joel Peterson who is one of the state’s premier winemakers. They make grocery wines and higher-end fine Zins.

They’ve also been bought out by one of the big conglomerates which makes many worry about the future of the winery or quality of their wines. But there aren’t many wineries now days which haven’t come under the control of the really big companies.

I visted Ravenswood during a 2006 trip, which is a bit of a long story. But it’s snuggled along a county road close to Sonoma, in the Sonoma Valley. I bought a half case of higher-end Ravenswood Zin that was about $32 a bottle. It was real big and super smooth fantastic Zinfandel.

Tonight, I opened a 2006 Ravenswood Old Vine Zin which I paid about $14.99 for when I picked it up. You can find Ravenswood and even the old vine in almost every wine shop and often grocery stores. They really are one of the premier producers in quantity and often in quality, depending on what yr picking up.

The thing I’ve found with the inexpensive Ravenwood wines is they just have to have some air … or decanting. Even if you don’t own a decanter, just open the bottle and let it set an hour or so.

Ravenswood Zin, even at this price point, is a big Zin. It has big fruit and the distinctive Zinfandel peppery finish. And if you drink a lot of wine, you can almost taste the oak in the finish. I thought this was overly acidic, thought it did soften considerable with time, pasta, and a few bites of chocolate.

I’d recommend Ravenswood as much as any wine for those who want a really big flavor. it won’t be for everyone. But I’d really empahsize that you should give it about an hour open before you drink it. If you don’t have a decanter, and your drinking a lot of wine, find one. It’s not unusual to see decanters in stores like Target now days near their wine glasses.

Ravenswood’s more expensive wines are beautiful, not all available in Indiana. But Ravenswood is Zin!

On a side note, since I recently wrote about wine and chocolate. My dessert with the Ravenswood Zin was some 70 percent cocoa chocolate. The 70 percent chocolate is the really big stuff. The Ravenswood wine is one of the few less expensive wines that hold up to chocolate that big! It’s a great pairing when it works!

Buy some Ravenswood, let it breathe and enjoy great wine for under $15.

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