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Zinfandel

Learn about Zinfandel — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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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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  • Paul Dolan Vineyards Organically Grown Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
    Paul Dolan Vineyards Organically Grown Zinfandel 2019
    Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
    • WW89
    4.1 7 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $17.99
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  • Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
    • TP91
    3.9 208 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    22
    15 99
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  • Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2017  Front Label
    Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2017
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • TP91
    • WE90
    3.9 95 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    20
    15 99
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  • Zinfandelic Mendocino Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
    Zinfandelic Mendocino Zinfandel 2016
    Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
    • WE91
    3.9 83 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    15 99
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  • Zinfandelic Lodi Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    Zinfandelic Lodi Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
    • WE90
    3.8 82 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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    20
    15 99
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  • McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2018  Front Bottle Shot
    McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
      3.7 98 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $10.99
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      10 99
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    • McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
      McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2019
      Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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        Currently Unavailable $10.99
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        10 99
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      • Hullabaloo Zinfandel 2017  Front Label
        Hullabaloo Zinfandel 2017
        Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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        • Williams Selyem Fanucchi-Wood Road Zinfandel 2017 Front Label
          Williams Selyem Fanucchi-Wood Road Zinfandel 2017
          Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
          • WE95
          • RP92
          • W&S91
          0.0 0 Ratings
          Currently Unavailable $149.99
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          149 99
          149 99
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        • Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2015  Front Label
          Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2015
          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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            Currently Unavailable $22.99
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          • Williams Selyem Saitone Estate Zinfandel 2017  Front Label
            Williams Selyem Saitone Estate Zinfandel 2017
            Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
            • RP93
            • WW93
            • W&S92
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $129.99
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            129 99
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