Had dinner with Joel Peterson, the founder and winemaker of Ravenswood. We tasted his 7 single-vineyard Zinfandels as well as the Icon from the 2009 vintage. My faves:
Dickerson: this was the first one I tasted, and what I tasted was toothpaste! I couldn’t believe it since I had brushed my teeth over an hour before, but figured it just happens sometimes – until Joel said there’s a eucalyptus tree right next to the vineyard that affects the nose and the taste of the wine! I love when I taste what’s actually in there. And not my Crest. Anyway, an interesting Zin because of that.
Big River: this is what Joel said was the most typical expression of Zin. So if you want a touchstone one, try this and then taste other ones against it.
Barricia: this one was my favorite – really juicy dark berries, almost like blackberry pie filling, with some pepper and spice.
These three are all $35, though the entry-level Old Vine Zin is $16 if you wanna give that a whirl.
Eight big reds are a lot for one night, but we kicked everything off with a glass of Champagne. Why? Because on Joel’s 50th birthday, he pledged to drink one glass of Champagne every day. He guessed that he’s only missed about 5% of days in the past 15 years, mostly just because he’d been in a place that didn’t have Champagne. Sparkling wine has counted as a substitute when necessary, but when he was in the Galapagos they didn’t even have that. Those crazy animals… Anyway, what an awesome pledge to remember to celebrate life every day, and it was cool to learn about it on September 11.
BTW, we had Pierre Péters, Cuvée Reserve Brut, Blanc de Blancs, which is about $45 a bottle. This is the beauty of grower Champagne – it’s not that expensive compared to “big house” Champagne and it’s way more interesting. This one was incredibly minerally with a squeeze of lime.