For many years, sommeliers and scientists alike have been debating whether Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape or not. The Primitivo grape is characterized by its high sugar level, which often results in wines with a rather high alcohol by volume. In Italy, the grape is mostly planted in Apulia but there are also smaller quantities of Primitivo found in Tuscany and other regions. In the USA, Primitivo is often grown in California where it is planted in more than 10% of all vineyards.
A few weeks ago, I visited one of the wine shops here in Munich and decided to buy a Californian wine. Ravenswood was recommended to me by fellow blogger Anatoli. I went with their 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel. The wine is produced with 77% Primitivo (Zinfandel) and 23% Petite Sirah grapes. The wine’s appellation is Lodi. Californians like to say that the Lodi is the Zinfandel capital of the world. Not sure if I agree. In my opinion, Primitivo/Zinfandel still remains a variety that is mostly associated with the great wines of Apulia.
Neither the bottle nor the website indicate whether the wines aged in oak or not but judging from my tasting notes I assume that it did not (or only in parts). Anatoli showed me the technical sheet of the wine and according to it, the wine aged 18 months in French oak. I tasted no oak whatsoever.
Tasting notes Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel
This Old Vine Zinfandel had a deep ruby red color. The nose was dominated by plums, strawberry jam, blackcurrant jam and earth. The wine had a label listed ABV of 14.5%. Unfortunately, I could smell the alcohol, too. On the palate, Old Vine Zinfandel was very fruit-forward. There were some minerals and a decent acidity, too. The wine had a small/medium body and mellow tannins. Ravenswood’s Old Vine Zinfandel had a finish of medium length.
I enjoyed this wine. It was nothing special but sure worth trying. The wine retails in Munich for 13€ and at that price the Old Vine Zinfandel can make good job as an everyday wine.
I found the wine to be a a little bit one-dimensional – it was dominated by fruit and lacked other aromas like spices. Ravenswood’s Old Vine Zinfandel was much better than the 2008 Beringer – Founder’s Estate Old Vine Zinfandel, which I previously tried and did not like at all. What is your opinion on Californian Primitivo? Do you like them? Which one is your favorite?
Because of VinItaly 2013 there will be no weekly wine quiz this week and next week.