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What's the Difference Between a Zinfandel and Black Leather Pants?

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Women Storm the Wine World

Leslie Sbrocco, author of Wine for Women and founder of Thirsty Girl, talks about the misconceptions women have of the wine world and how they can become more involved.

Back when I was a kid, women drank wine and men drank martinis. But what’s strange is that while women have long been the majority of wine consumers, the industry worldwide has been dominated by men. Thankfully, that's changing as more women are getting into all aspects of the industry from being winemakers and sommeliers, to running wineries.

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And, community of women who love food, wine and travel, is just another extension of this change.

Leslie Sbrocco, founded the multimedia company, ThirstyGirl, to help women feel comfortable around wine. She evens goes as far as using fashion analogies to describe wine, instead of the usual wine terms. For example, Merlot is known for its supple, lush character and Sbrocco says drinking it is “like donning a luxurious cashmere scarf.” Same thing with that rustic, hearty, full-bodied red zinfandel. She calls it the "black leather pants" of the wine world because it's a bit wild and powerful. Love it!

So while this may not be the right approach for all wine lovers, there are certainly some people out there who will understand the black leather pants analogy.

But it’s all about finding what works for you, trying new things, and most importantly, tasting new wines.

Cent ‘Anni.

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Questions for Our Wine Pro

What is your death row wine?

Rose Champagne in magnum from Moet & Chandon (Dom Perignon), Krug, and Laurent Perrier to name a few. I adore pink bubbles so much I even had a flute of some tattooed on the back of my leg. You could say I'll die with a glass no matter what.

What region produces the best wine?

That's like asking which of my kids I like best (though my beautiful teenage daughter doesn't top the list right now!). I have so many favorites and there are gorgeous wines produced around the globe but here are some of my go-to wine spots: Argentina's Mendoza region for succulent Malbec, New Zealand's Central Otago area for elegant Pinot Noir and the Nelson wine region for pristine Riesling, Australia's Margaret River zone in Western Australia for stylish Cabernet Sauvignon blends, Rioja in Spain for unique aged reds and refreshing rose, France's Champagne area for bubbly and Washington state for structured merlot and syrah. I can't even begin with California as there are too many spots to name.

I always say when asked what my favorite wine is that it's the one in my glass since I get to drink it.

What is the best wine and food pairing you've ever had?

German Spatlese Riesling from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region with a grilled endive salad topped with bacon vinaigrette--sweet, sour, smoky and salty all rolled into one.

What will the U.S. wine industry look like in 10 years?

We are already the largest wine consuming nation, which is a recent development, and I think we'll continue to expand wine's reach to more and more Americans. Younger wine drinkers and savvy sippers alike aren't bothered by what wine "should" be and drink it for what it is: a beverage to enjoy alone or with food. They don't care if it's under screwcap (which I love), in a box, or in a can. I believe we'll have more packaging options, more adventurous wine drinkers and in my glass ball, I see a bottle on every American table.

What do you think?

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