Are you ready for some football? Pigskin parties and road trips through scarlet and gold leaves — autumn kick starts change, big time. The wines you drink need to do that, too. They’re a transit from summer’s light, fruity wines to full-bodied rich palate-pleasers. You gotta go earthy as the world turns toward fall.
Zesty, jammy, just screaming for BBQ ribs and bonfires outside, Zinfandel makes its mark on dusky autumn evenings. In the case of Zins, the older the vines the better the body. Girls, take note of that. These robust red grapes improve dramatically with age.
Are you a “Zin Bitch?” Not sure how to answer that question? On a typical blustery, cold Chicago night, Christian Tietje invited me to a Four Vines Wine Dinner, and the question came right along with his invitation. This Zin Rockstar not only produces amazing Zinfandels but he’s earned a following of self-proclaimed Zin Lovers who wear matching Zin Bitch shirts. I joined the jammy, spicy Zin Revolution that night. Christian and his “mother-trucker” partner Susan Mahler make wines as sassy as their zealous fan club.
- Rosenblum Cellars Vintners Cuvée
- Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2011
- Four Vines Biker Zinfandel Paso Robles
- Mauritson Zinfandel
- Dry Creek Valley
- Ridge Paso Robles Zinfandel 2010
- Great Eats
Beef & seafood stews, cioppino, BBQ ribs, Italian sausage, aged cheddar cheese. All of these make great pairings to compliment a range of Zins, with raspberry, wild blackberry, strawberry and cracked black pepper notes.
The Unforgettable Kiss
What better way to learn about Zins than from the Godfather of Zinfandel? Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery talked shop with me at the Walgreens flagship store in Chicago. This is no dusty pharmacy with bad lighting. Bottles of Cristal and imported cigars stood watch as Joel talked with me about his first tasting session — at age 10 with his parents the high-powered chemists who gave him this timeless instruction: “Shut up and spit.” He did spit and did not get drunk, and that early chemistry helped create one of the smartest, most genuine winemakers around. Joel sets trends. He makes “no wimpy wines.” Wherever he goes, me and my wine glass follow!
About Jessica Altieri
Jessica Altieri — aka “Just Jess” — is changing the way consumers buy, taste and experience wine. “From WallStreet to Wine Street,” Altieri has captured the ears, eyes,and hearts of wine lovers around the globe, sharing and creating unique wine lifestyle experiences with digital and social media. A respected millennial-age professional wine judge, Altieri is a Certified Sommelier and former NCAA scholar athlete. She founded the world’s fastest growing digital wine lifestyle network, Wine Channel TV, in 2009, and works with some of the world’s leading brands, trade associations and lifestyle companies. Altieri has appeared on ABC, WGN, and ESPN Radio with unique wine, food and lifestyle segments that make shopping for your next fine wine as much fun as eating ice cream. Enjoy, and remember: “Wine is just a conversation waiting to happen!”