That's a joke. Ravenswood has never made white Zinfandel, the commercial concoction that has led many Americans to believe that Zinfandel is a white grape. Ravenswood specializes in red--some might say black--Zinfandel, which is crafted in a style that has inspired a rabid following among hard-core hedonists. The winery's unblushing motto is variously translated as Nullum Vinum Flaccidum, Pas de Vins Poules Mouillées, Kayn Nebbishy Vayn and No Viños sin Huevos. All of which constitute fairly liberal renditions of the slogan No Wimpy Wines.
It's an unconventional (and certainly unsubtle) phraseology, perhaps, but then little about Ravenswood is conventional. Even when the winery's founding partners, Joel Peterson and Reed Foster, gather their families for a celebratory harvest dinner, the meal is an unexpected pairing of lamb and Zinfandel. (Tony Najiola, Ravenswood's executive chef, prepared the dinner that follows.) After all, Cabernet Sauvignon is the traditional partner for lamb. But this match works, Peterson says, because the Zinfandels he creates are balanced and "consistent with classical winemaking standards, straddling the edge between those that are simple and quaffable and those that are so massive and powerful they're hardly drinkable beyond one glass."
Peterson, Ravenswood's maverick 51-year-old winemaker, president and co-owner, finds much about Zinfandel in general to please the American palate. "Americans tend to like things they can cozy up to right away, and Zinfandel has an exuberance of fruit, an intensity of flavor and a suppleness of body that are all very appealing." Zinfandel is also a quintessential American success story: "It was an unknown that came from somewhere else, went through multiple changes and finally became a success--America's first success, really, in fine wine."