Oh Zinfandel, you are such a beautiful thing when you are not pink and sweet. This is one of my favorite varietals for those cold winter nights in front of the fire. I am clearly dreaming of cooler days as I crank my AC down to an unnatural temperature. But that is neither here nor there! So what does it mean to be an "old vine" Zinfandel? It simply means the vines are at least 50 years old. These older vines make wines that are bigger in flavor and intensity compared to their younger counterparts. If you are new to the world of Zins, you can expect a bold, jammy, and peppery wine that is typically rather high in alcohol. The Brazin Zinfandel gave me exactly what I was expecting from and old vine Zin, and at a price I would be happy to pay again. This wine leaned more towards the jammy side, than pepper, but was smooth and balanced.
Since we are anticipating cooler temps and people tend to drink more reds in the fall and winter months, I thought I would answer a question that I get asked all the time. To chill, or not to chill? So we have all heard "red wines should be served at room temperature" time and time again, but what is room temperature? I am sure there are different opinions on this, but from most of my studying, room temperature is in reference to the temperature of the average cellar in France, about 65 degrees. Most wine makers that I have worked with also suggest a serving temperature for their reds within 3 degrees of this. So if you come to my house for wine, your red with be pulled out of my wine fridge that is set at 65. Hot wine is never fun to drink....unless it is mulled ;-)