Check out the new, mobile-friendly!

A California Zinfandel for Entertaining Rhône Winemakers

Ravenswood Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Cooke 2001
James Molesworth
Posted: October 30, 2009

Last week, amidst the frenzy of the New York Wine Experience, I had a few Rhône vignerons over for some casual wine and hors d’oeuvres. I wanted to thank them for taking part in my Rhône tasting panel on Friday morning. And I did so without serving a single bottle of Rhône wine.

Rather, I wanted to open up a range of wines that I know they don’t get to taste every day, if at all. I poured Argentine Malbec, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and South African Syrah, along with Loire, German and Alsatian whites. And a California Zinfandel from my cellar.

A few of the vignerons knew Ravenwsood winery’s “No Wimpy Wines” slogan, and all of them were certainly familiar with the grape. But, they admitted, none of them drink Zinfandel regularly.

The wine was very vibrant, with racy red cherry and red currant fruit backed by nice spice shadings and a long, almost zesty finish. Not heady at all, it showed nice defining acidity and underlying minerality. It’s holding up very nicely and still has a few years to go.

With pâté, cheese, olives, mushroom tortes, tuna tartare and more being passed around the room, it also did well with the food, prompting everyone to agree it was an excellent wine. I rated it 90 points, non-blind. members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated California Zinfandels, plus get our quick list of Top Values in Zinfandel.

Member comments   2 comment(s)

Don Fuller — US —  October 30, 2009 8:14am ET

Which one of Ravenswood's Zinfandels was it?

James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator —  October 30, 2009 8:29am ET

Don: The wine is listed under the headline - the '01 Cooke vineyard...

Would you like to comment?

Want to join or start a discussion? Become a member and you can!

To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. To learn more about member benefits, take our site tour.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories