Joel Peterson, founder and winemaker from the very successful Ravenswood winery has a few things he is proud of. One of them is his winemaking son, Morgan who has started Bedrock Winery. He is also very proud of the 2008 Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel – a single vineyard offering culled from Dry Creek Valley. I had the honour of tasting through a flight of his wines with him and a number of other top Montreal bloggers. You could say he was proud of the more widely distributed Vintner’s Blend Chardonnay and Zin that he had brought along with him, but nothing made his chest puff with pride like talking about Morgan or the Teldeschi Zin. I actually liked the Chard quite a bit myself, it showed great value based modest and reasonable middle ground on oak toasting.
The Teldeschi is just hitting it’s stride and gave every indication that the ageing would do continue to make this a standout wine. With his vintner’s blend Zin acting essentially as control standard in the industry as it is consumed by oenologists and soccer mom’s with equal zeal, it was fun see what Joel fashioned with a very specific set of grapes. First things first, on the nose authentic cherry, not cough syrup flavouring that some wine factories roll out of their zin production lines. Hints of the same smell you get from breathing in the contents of a souvenir Havana cigar tube where wood and caramel usually stand. Into the gulp, the cherry lead the way, but it share the stage with some blackberry and an exotic tastes kinda like vanilla – tonka bean. Juicy and fresh, I can only imagine what will happen to the interesting flavours of the 2008 Teldeschi Zin by Ravenswood as it ages.
This is a very alluring wine.
Musical Match: I have to admit I was charmed by Mr. Peterson. He immediately connected with his audience on topics about his personal history with wine, the environment, politics and even family. I would like to draw a parallel between him and a musical icon, legendary Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine. Professionally they have a few interesting lines that intersect. As a California winemaker who started in the seventies, he has had to battle the idea that American is somewhat less good than European. Like the Met’s location in the cultural hub of the continent, Peterson makes his wine in most likely the finest geographical point in America to hone his craft.
They both are clearly capable of shining their talents on a wide variety of subjects. Peterson makes a good number of wines himself, and because he conducts an Operatic orchestra, Levine has to be very good at conducting so many scores in a mind blowing range of styles. Levine often has precious little time to adjust from one production to another. Levine and his orchestra are the one constant through all the Met productions, but always take take second or tertiary credit. Peterson hasn’t put his signature on too many bottles, and keeps the Ravenswood symbol up on a podium mounted on centre stage.
Peterson and Levine have invested great amounts of time, effort and passion in training the next generation. They are both visionaries and icons in their field, yet remain seemingly free of inflated egos that success often brings.
So enjoy some this Levine conducted instrumental piece along with a glass of the Ravenswood 2008 Teldeschi Ravenswood Zinfandel formDry Creek Valley. This one is appropriately enough, Baccanale.