Predator Zinfandel and My Fire Pit Inauguration

I had a big crowd for the inaugural lighting of my new fire pit. A really big crowd. One of the biggest, really. 

I mean, millions of stars twinkling in the sky and crickets singing in huge choruses. It was quite the event!

So of course I needed a wine as notable as this event!

I opened the Predator Old Vine Zinfandel from the Lodi appellation. Lodi is known for its old vines, and this wine utilizes fruit from 50+-year-old vines. The grapes from these vines hold concentrated juice leading to rich and complex wines.

Predator is named after the winery’s use of predatory insects in their vineyards as a natural way of controlling harmful pests. The bottle is decorated with a deceptively cute ladybug–this “cute” ladybug will happily dine on pesky aphids and mites that can harm the vines.


This Zinfandel pours light–sparkling like a jewel against the backdrop of flames. Sweet smoky aromas include dark berries, even meaty sausage!

The palate begins with sweet ripe dark berries and cherry cola. The sweet fruits are enveloped by intense smoke and spice.  Smoked sausage notes mingle with sweet spices and peppery spice too.  Red fruits jump in on the finish and are overtaken by smoky spice. Spice and fruit linger on the palate practically forever.

What could be better to sip while sitting around an evening fire?

It would seem obvious to pair this wine with a plate of charcuterie. But I wanted something not quite so obvious. I paired the wine with a 26-month-aged Gouda. The aged cheese was sweet, almost caramel-like, and mixed well with the sweetness of the wine’s fruit.  The rich notes tamed down the meaty notes in the wine.  The cheese was bold enough to hold its own with the bold flavors of the wine.

Stars were twinkling, cricket choruses were singing, impressive wine was poured, all in grand celebration of the inauguration of my fire pit!


Big and bold in flavor, yet with a medium body.


Drinking by a late summer night fire;

Pairing with a plate of charcuterie and aged Gouda;

A Zinfandel drinker who prefers a bold taste with lots of smoke and spice.


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