Olympic Fever

“U.S.A.!     U.S.A.!     U.S.A.!”

So, have you caught “Olympic fever” yet?  Seeing the billboards in Milwaukee advertising the U.S. speed-skating Olympic Trials, I caught myself feeling the “fever.”  Yes, there’s nothing like Olympic national pride in the dead of winter to warm one’s spirit!  There’s also nothing like the national pride the U.S.A. takes in producing great wines, especially wine varieties that are made (almost) exclusively here in America.

Zinfandel is such a wine.  Although predominantly grown in California, research has now confirmed that Zinfandel’s ancestry is widely traced back to the country of Croatia, and is genetically identical to a wine grape variety called “Primitivo” (mostly an Italian indigenous grape).  Despite all this, Zinfandel still is arguably known as “America’s wine.”  Here’s why… It speaks to our national heritage.  Zinfandel mimics our nation’s longevity and ability to survive—some of its vines and rootstocks date back over a century’s time (thus the term “old vine” often connected to it).  Zinfandel has big, bold, and bodacious character; not unlike the spirit of our nation’s founding fathers!  Its juicy character usually combines with robust alcohol content (hard to find a Zinfandel these days less than 14.5% alc.), and can also exhibit some spice to provide a little “warmth”—a good thing to counter Wisconsin’s cold weather months!

America’s very own Zinfandel pairs itself well with the juiciness of self-gratifying steaks, or the spicy sizzle of “low and slow” barbecue—two things I believe are uniquely American!  Here are three truly American Zinfandels that Otto’s proudly offers to you to visit, or revisit…they just might earn “gold, silver, and bronze” in your hearts:


Novy 2014 “Carlisle Vineyard” (Russian River Valley, CA) Zinfandel, …..On Sale SAVE $10

  • This is a “single vineyard” wine from one of California’s premiere Zinfandel-growing sites!

Dry Creek Vineyard 2014 and 2015 “Heritage Vines” (Sonoma County, CA) Zinfandel

  • “Heritage Vines Zinfandel is the result of grafting bud wood from century-old vines onto new rootstock…” 2014—90 Pts, Wine Spectator & the 2015—92 Pts, Wine Spectator

The Federalist 2015 “Bourbon Barrel-Aged” (Mendocino County, CA) Zinfandel

  • “Our classic Zinfandel is aged in charred ex-Bourbon barrels to create a bold wine of great strength and complexity. Intense flavors of blackberry, raspberry, black pepper and vanilla come together on the palate, along with a touch of clove and caramel on the smoky finish… Aged 6 months in American oak barrels and finished 6 months in charred bourbon barrels.”

Cheers…and “U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!”

Andy, Wine Manager

Otto’s Wine & Spirits—Brown Deer