[This bottle was provided as a sample for review purposes.]
Let me first say that I fully support theme wines, provided that they exhibit a little bit of effort and make some shred of sense. Seasonal and holiday releases are just fine in my books as long as they’re somewhat consistent with a winery’s overall image and aren’t just a lazy cash grab. A producer slapping a new red Christmas label on old stock just in time for the holiday season? Not cool. But a winery already named “Ravenswood” concocting an on-brand, original, spooky limited release bottling for Hallowe’en? I’m in.
Imminently available in stores near you, the 2013 Ravenswood Besieged is a field blend of 7 different, slightly disparate, and never usually combined red grapes: Petite Sirah (cool), Carignane (double cool), Zinfandel (the winery’s bread and butter), Syrah (my favourite), Barbera (what?), Alicante Bouschet (double what?) and Mourvedre (whew). The percentages of each grape in the blend are not listed on the label and not currently available online, but by law the grapes listed earlier on a label have to comprise a larger portion of the blend than those listed later, so you can think of Besieged as being primarily made from the thematically similar (deep, dark, bold, structured) Petite Sirah and Carignane, with a bit of kitchen sink thrown in. The wine is from grapes sourced all over Sonoma, including top subregions Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and a couple other Valleys. According to the winery, this release is called “Besieged” because pioneering winemaker Joel Paterson conceived of it “under a threatening sky besieged by rain clouds” as ravens cackled overhead, a seasonally appropriate vignette which also happens to be laid out on the bottle’s equally eerie label. My vote for the name was “Nevermore”, but the ravens may have eaten my ballot. Read the rest of this entry »