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1999 Ravenswood Icon Red Blend, Sonoma

Like many folks, in my early (ignorant) days of wine drinking, I bought quite a bit of Ravenswood Zinfandel and other wines at Safeway. It was priced right, had a cool bottle, and to my unstudied palate, was better than a lot of the wines at its price range.

Times have changed, and I prefer wines that are made with a little more care and attention to detail, often in smaller lots. However there is one Ravenswood wine that I continue to drink regularly, both because it is an outstanding value, and because it tastes damn good.

The Icon is a classic Rhone style red wine, but with some darker notes that you often find blended out of true Rhone reds. A mix of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, Icon is built solidly, but is accessible enough to be one of my favorite food wines. I bring it to a lot of barbeques and potlucks with good results. People like to drink it. They also like the odd format, etched bottle (which is a pain to store in a standard cellar rack).

Tasting Notes:
Icon fills the glass with a dark rich aroma of rasberries, plums, tobacco, and milled wood, all of which match the dark purple of its hue. As the wine opens up over time, a little hint of chocolate creeps in along with high notes of anise. The body of the wine is lush and supple with nice tannins that weave around flavors of dark cherries, plums, woodsmoke, and a hint of cayenne. The finish is medium to long, and ends in flavors of chocolate. When this wine was first bottled it had some light acidity to it, however as it has aged that tartness has retreated a little.

Food Pairing:
I had this wine last night (and would recommend it with) grilled teriyaki chicken with shitake mushrooms and grilled asparagus.

Overall Score: 8/8.5

How Much?: $16 - $18 depending on the retailer, with earlier vintages reaching $25-$30.

This wine used to be available through the winery's website, but I couldn't seem to find it there this morning. Just go to Froogle and type in "Ravenswood Icon."

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