Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2007 Ravenswood Single Vineyard Designate Belloni Zinfandel

Behold the ebony raven, perhaps one of the most foreboding birds in literature, often conjuring up macabre images of gloom and doom. Just last week for some unknown reason, I found myself repeating Edgar Allan Poe’s famous line, “Quoth the raven, `Nevermore'”. It’s comforting to know not all things relating to the raven are so gloomy, as I found out from a recent sampling of 2007 Ravenswood Single Vineyard Designate Belloni Zinfandel

Spicy black pepper and a hint of oak aromas, flavors are bold with loads of blackberry, cherry and chocolate. Well structured tannins combine superbly with the generous bursts of fruit. The finish is lingering and peppered with spicy notes.

The 2007 Ravenswood Belloni Zinfandel, $35, Russian River appellation, includes 78% Zinfandel and 22% mixed blacks, including Petite Sirah, Carignane and Alicante Bouchet, a field-blend co-ferment. 2007 vintage produced just 1,300 cases of this wonderful juice.

When selecting a Single Vineyard location, Ravenswood’s winemaker Joel Peterson has a few requirements that must be met; climate suited to the varietal of grape, old and low yielding vines, experienced growers and distinctive flavors that make the vineyard unique. Ravenswood has been harvesting grapes from the Belloni Vineyard since 1991. Family-owned and run by the late Ricardo Belloni’s wife Natalie, the vineyard’s old vines are now tended to by Ricardo’s descendants as a way of paying homage to their heritage.

The winery, born in 1976, takes its name from a dark and ominous afternoon on the brink of thunderstorms. Grapes recently harvested for Joel’s debut Zinfandel vintage awaited pick up. When Joel arrived at the vineyard he found the recently picked berries that were packed in a 50lb crate were now scattered throughout the vineyard. As Joel struggled to gather the grapes and haul them to his truck, two ravens cackled and Joel thought “Nevermore”.

My quoting the Raven may have been foreshadowing a great opportunity for me on the horizon. I’ll be visiting Ravenswood and touring their Single Vineyards in October, perfect time to have the raven on my side. In the meantime, stay on the look out for some more reviews on these fabulous crafted and tasty wines.

2010© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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