Wine of the Week: Raving about Ravenswood

With the July Fourth holiday just around the corner, one can look forward to the sparkle of fireworks, the heat rising up from the grill, the sizzle of meats as they sear and the aroma of spicy barbecue sauce on ribs, chicken and steak. You just need to find the right wine to complement it.

Barbecue sauce and wine? This is where Zinfandel shines, and nobody does Zinfandel like Ravenswood Winery, located in Sonoma, Calif.

With more than a dozen different Zinfandels to choose from, they are to wine what charcoal is to your grill. The secret is that the robust aspect of this grape variety can stand up to big sauces. In addition, the talented winemaking team assures that each bottling has a place in the summer lineup, whether it’s burgers or brownies — yes, these Zins love chocolate, too!

So, get ready to fire up the grill and experience an explosion of flavor this Independence Day.

If grilled chicken is on the menu for July Fourth, then consider putting the 2019 Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi in the glass. Dense yet supple, this all-around Zin offers up blackberry, black cherry and dark raspberry flavors on a medium-bodied frame supported by smooth tannins and bright acidity. The characteristic notes of pepper are backed up by a hint of cocoa on the charming finish. $12

I grew up eating barbecue tri-tip sandwiches as a kid, and I wish I was old enough back then to appreciate how much better my favorite sandwich would have been with the 2016 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma County. It sports a ripe fruit bouquet of blackberries, dark cherries and hints of toasty oak. Flavors of blackberry jam, black raspberry and black pepper attack the palate, while subtle flavors of vanilla, clove and cinnamon are supported by firm tannins that run out long and elegantly on the savory finish. $21

The care and love I put into my smoked barbecued ribs deserves equal attention. The 2012 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Hill from Sonoma is the perfect sidekick. The juxtaposition of ripe boysenberry, sweet cherry and blueberry liqueur flavored against the spicy, peppery frame provides a wonderfully balanced contrast between richness and rustic. The long, spicy finish fills out the entire palate. $47


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