3 Ball Zinfandel is a blend of grapes from three Californian counties, made by a chap known out there as ‘Zinbitch’. True story. Christian Tietje has acquired this memorable moniker for his winemaking at Cypher Winery, crafting high end Zinfandels. This latest project is a blend of Sonoma County, Paso Robles and the foothills of Amador County, with a splash of Petite Sirah and Carignan lobbed in.
A right ole' mouthful this one, charging out with dark cherry and blackberry, then slapping you about a bit with a healthy 15% ABV, but it's all in seamless balance – plush, lush, silky, satisfying.
A discovery while visiting The Fordwich Arms pub in Kent, where some cracking cooking is going on, where the open fires make you want to stay all day, and where co-owner Guy Palmer-Brown has assembled an interesting little list.
And Christian? Oh, he's noted as the "surfer, punk rocker, metal artist winemaker" who fell in love with wine and oysters in a small fishing town in Maine, and ended up cooking in seafood and Italian restaurants across New England. Obsessed with seafood and the ocean, he also makes a wine he considers the "ultimate" seafood wine, blending Viiognier, Riesling, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay – it's called Octopussy.
When he's not being a Zinbitch he's surfing on California's Central Coast, popping oyster shells, or welding a metal sculpture: of course he is. Rock 'n' Roll winemaker....