Ravenswood Besieged by Nature this Halloween

“Are ravens circling a good or a bad omen?”, Joel thought, as the black winged birds, about the size of a football, with long wingspan, and tapered wings, and each feather, like so many shiny throwing daggers silently glided above his head, this dark and gloomy evening, the copper Autumn moon just half exposed, peaking behind the gathering storm clouds to see what will happen to this man dressed in work clothes, carrying a well-stained basket of Zinfandel grapes beside him, as he worked to pick the last of the black globes from his vineyard.  Lightning flashed on and off, a beacon he hoped to bring him home.  Safely in the winery, Joel carefully began to make his blend of Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Barbera, Alicante Bouschet, and Mourvedre with precision and care.  Would the grapes from these old vines produce a bewitching blend?  With time and age, Joel thought we shall know.

Joel Peterson, better known for his full-bodied Ravenswood Zinfandel wines, has decided to try his fortune at making a blend from old vine California heritage varietals Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Barbera, Alicante Bouschet, and Mourvedre that are sourced from Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River Valley, Knights Valley and Sonoma Mountain.  The blend you must admit is quite unique.  The grapes were fermented on skins in small tanks for 7-14 days, then aged in French oak barrels (40% new) for 10 months.  I was fortunate to be given a bottle of this wine to try.  Thinking of the upcoming Halloween season, this wine may be appropriate for parties.  The label looks quite ominous, showing ravens crossing the sky and black background.

Ravenswood Limited Release Besieged 2013
Ravenswood Limited Release Besieged 2013

My Review of Ravenswood Besieged 2013

This wine is deep ruby red in the glass but I like that it is still translucent even to the core.  With swirling there are legs, showing it’s 14.5% alcohol, but it does not feel that strong, with the balance of the fruit in the wine.  Upon first sniff the wine had a prominent roasted chicken dark meat aroma, together with red berries, plums, blueberries and vanilla, and a hint of nutmeg.  I gave the wine 3 hrs of decanting and tried it again, and this time more ripe cassis fruit aroma came out and the roasted chicken aroma was a bit subdued, but still there.  An interesting nose.  It is medium body, dry, but very round and supple in the mouth.  Juicy red and black berries, cassis, black plums, and overripe raspberry fruit flavours, with some roast chicken in the background.  A hint of oak, cloves, and black pepper toward the finish.There was also some rose petals that seemed to float above the fruit flavours.  Medium finish, which I wish lasted longer.  On the finish the tannins picked up a bit, but not overly drying, along with flavour of dark chocolate dipped cherries, saline minerality, and nice mouth watering acidity.  You can try this wine now, but I think it might develop more interesting flavours and aromas over time in the bottle. Try it now, and then open a new bottle in 2-3 years.  24hr update:  the savory roast chicken aroma and flavour has disappeared.  On the palate I now get nutmeg and ripe cassis flavours.

Rating: 4 stars  An interesting blend of red grapes from old vines across California, with complex black fruit and ripe berry aromas and flavours to try now and again with some bottle age.

My Local Besieged Experience

To finish off, I thought I would mention about the huge flocks of crows that can be seen around central Burnaby, (BCIT) area, where the crows nest and raise their young.  Some evenings the sky is full of black wings, for as far as you can see.  When they land, they make quite an impression.  In the Spring or Fall, with the leaves off the trees, the crows become the leaves of the trees.  Enjoy the two pictures I have taken of our local crows.  I’m sure they will be around here for Halloween!

Crows in trees in Burnaby
Crows in trees in Burnaby
More Crows in trees in Burnaby
More crows in trees in Burnaby


Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.