2015 Valravn "Old Vine" Sonoma County Zinfandel (Previously $20) SKU #1330671

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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

Valravn is a small project by the folks behind Banshee Wines, with one clear mission: helping the Zinfandel grape live up to its potential glory. Their dry-farmed, bush-pruned vines range from 50 to 105 years old. Made by hand on a small scale, these wines are the antithesis to the jammy mass-produced Zins you can often find on the market. From the winery: "Layers of richness and complexity wrap around a core of wild strawberry and raspberry. Intoxicating aromatics with scents of ripe red berries and savory spices. Rich on the palate with flavors of raspberry, blackberry compote, and hints of licorice-laced black pepper. Valravn shows the weight of top quality dry-farmed Zinfandel, balanced by a the freshness that is the hallmark of these ancient vines."

Staff Reviews

  • Joe Bruno
    By: Joe Bruno
    K&L Staff Member
    Another great zinfandel from Banshee’s project Valravn. I had the pleasure of trying their last vintage, 2014, this past year. Their 2015 release proves to be fantastic as well. Aromas of boysenberry, cassis, and blueberries are accompanied by a bouquet of chocolate covered orange and espresso. Berry medley flavors on the palate play with cocoa powder and luxardo cherries notes. Ripe flavors are contrasted with its freshness and light nature compared to other zinfandels I’ve tried. This wine is great texturally, and does not give the impression that it’s over 14.5% ABV either. A plethora of food pairing applications possible with this wine. This is slowly becoming a classic, and for under-$20 it’s easy to see why!
  • John Majeski
    By: John Majeski
    K&L Staff Member
    Not surprising that Banshee, the Sonoma winery that takes its name from a mythical Irish demon, would name one of its deadly delicious wines after a voracious raven of Scandinavian folklore. And this Zinfandel, crafted from ancient dry-farmed vines, is something of a throwback style, before so many Zins became synonymous with something you spread on an English muffin! There is of course an array of delicious fruit: blackberry and red raspberry flavors, complemented by refined notes of licorice, graphite and spice. A superbly wrought Zinfandel to charm and enthrall your own ravenous palate....
  • David Driscoll
    By: David Driscoll
    K&L Staff Member
    "Old vine" is one of those terms you see on wine bottles that I'm not sure everyone understands, but nevertheless is used as a marketing tool by wineries to tout the quality of their hooch. It's kind of like "small batch" for Bourbon in that it implies something special or unique, but there's no real regulation regarding either term; it's really up to the integrity of the producer when it comes to the usage. What's so special about old vines then? It depends on which winemaker you talk to (as it can be a controversial subject), but old vines often give more concentrated fruit and a better sense of place when it comes to terroir, as the root networks extend deep into the soil, criss-crossing like veins through the heart of their terrain. Some winemakers say that old vines have a better ability to cope with diverse weather conditions because of their life experience—they have wisdom, so to speak. With every vintage, they gain a better understanding of their environment; plus, there's a reason they're still around after decades and decades, right? Someone must think they're pretty special to have left them in place for so long, while other vineyards get ripped up, replaced, and replanted. 2015 Valravn Old Vine Zinfandel: a wine that really impresses. It's made by the same team behind the Banshee project, focusing on 50 to 105 year old bush-pruned vines in Sonoma County that are all hand-harvested to preserve the varietal's full glory. What you get is concentrated red berry flavors, rich and juicy on the palate, but accented with savory spices, brush, and licorice-like peppery notes.


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