Learn about Zinfandel — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. In fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.
Zinfandel's story begins in Croatia in the 1400s when it went by the names, Tribidrag or Crljenak Kaštelanski. In the 1700s, it made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit. The modern spelling of Zinfandel first appeared in 1852 and became standard about a decade later.
Tasting Notes for Zinfandel
Zinfandel is a dry red wine, though typically forward in fruit. Notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice are common. Very ripe examples may express a dried fruit quakity like fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often shows red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics like juniper and menthol.
Perfect Food Pairings for Zinfandel
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.
Sommelier Secrets for Zinfandel
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, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.
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Ghost Block Pelissa Vineyard Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
St. Francis Reserve Zinfandel 2017Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2015Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Three Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
Hullabaloo Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Lodi, California
McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2019Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Bedrock Wine Company California Old Vine Zinfandel 2019Zinfandel from California
Martinelli Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Rombauer California Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2019Zinfandel from California
Zinfandelic Lodi Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Acre Zinfandel 2017Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Four Vines Old Vine Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2017Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2019Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2015Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Hendry Block 7 and 22 Zinfandel 2017Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Scott Harvey InZINerator Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
Tortoise Creek Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Louis Martini Monte Rosso Gnarly Vine Zinfandel 2015Zinfandel from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
Plungerhead Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Martinelli Giuseppe and Luisa Zinfandel 2019Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Four Vines Biker Paso Robles Zinfandel 2019Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Three Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel 2016Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
Zin-Phomaniac Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2019Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Michael David Winery Earthquake Zinfandel 2018Zinfandel from Lodi, California