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Zinfandel

Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward...

Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

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  • Ravenswood Dickerson Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      Currently Unavailable $29.99
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    • Day Sonoma Zinfandel 2016
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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      • Wilson Winery Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2015
        Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
          Currently Unavailable $29.99
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        • Ridge Paso Robles Zinfandel 2016
          Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
            Currently Unavailable $35.99
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          • Day Grist Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
            Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
              Currently Unavailable $39.99
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            • Bedrock Wine Company California Old Vine Zinfandel 2016
              Zinfandel from California
              • WS91
              Currently Unavailable $24.99
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            • Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2014
              Zinfandel from Lodi, California
              • WW89
              Currently Unavailable $20.99
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            • Decoy Zinfandel 2016
              Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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