Friday, November 30, 2012

Ravenswood's Joel Peterson: What score would you give his ashes?

Thousands of ZAP attendees have their photo taken with Joel Peterson
Earlier this week Wine-searcher published a Q&A I did with Ravenswood Vice President of Winemaking Joel Peterson.

Joel's a brilliant guy, funny and always worth talking to. Dr. Vino already found something in this interview to blog about: Ravenswood once got two ratings from the same magazine for the same wine that were 5 points different.

This is probably my favorite section:

Where would you like to be buried?
I would like to have my ashes sprinkled at Bedrock, the vineyard that I own. Nothing could be finer than to be part of the wines some day. To appear molecularly in somebody's glass of wine.

In other words, one day we can drink Joel Peterson -- and then rate him on the 100-point scale. Don't skip the tasting notes: It's an earthy yet refined number that is more graceful than it first appears. (What, you were expecting notes of mulberry and pomegranate?)

But he's only 65, and his daily glass of Champagne (preferably with popcorn) should keep him driving his Tesla for at least another decade or two. So until you can consume his essence, consume his words here.

If you want a Ravenswood recommendation, I continue to be a fan of the deceptively smooth-drinking Big River Zinfandel, which changes subtly on you the more time you spend with it. From the '09 vintage, Big River was my fave of his single-vineyard wines, which continue to be one of the best ways to learn (or teach) how much of a difference terroir makes. I also like the Old Hill, which costs more at $50, but is tremendously complex, and belongs in any conversation about the best Zins in California.

I just discovered on wine-searcher that you can buy six different vintages of Old Hill Zinfandel from the 1990s from the Duke of Bourbon wine shop in LA for $30 each. Now there's an interesting gift for a Zin fan. Ashes not included.

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rapopoda said...

The thing about his (mostly single vineyard) wines, and perhaps to an even greater extent his son's, is that they seem (at least to this observer) represent such keen understanding of what their vineyards can give them. The wines don't try to imitate some set of european wines (with the possible exception of the Bedrock Karitas) nor are they the caricatures that so many (unfortunately and wrongly) associate with all that CA is capable of. They are among the wines that show a piece of the truth of what CA can do so well

W. Blake Gray said...

Rapo: Very well stated.

RPM Cellars-Andy said...

The 5 point difference in the wines could have been the vagaries inherent with the 100/20 pt could also have been the cork. As I am sure you know, subtle cork taint and oxidation can change the wine for the worse without being obvious, unless you have another bottle right next to it