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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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  • Porter-Bass Dot's Garden Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
    Porter-Bass Dot's Garden Zinfandel 2016
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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    • Shypoke Twin Rock Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
      Shypoke Twin Rock Zinfandel 2016
      Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
      • WW91
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    • Turley Estate Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
      Turley Estate Zinfandel 2016
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      • WS92
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    • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
      Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2016
      Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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      • Turley Bedrock Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
        Turley Bedrock Zinfandel 2016
        Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
        • WS93
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      • Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
        Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2016
        Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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        • Michael David Winery Lust Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
          Michael David Winery Lust Zinfandel 2016
          Zinfandel from Lodi, California
            4.8 14 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $55.99
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          • Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
            Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel 2016
            Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
            • WS93
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          • Oakville Winery Estate Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
            Oakville Winery Estate Zinfandel 2016
            Zinfandel from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
              4.2 8 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $26.99
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            • Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Bambino Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
              Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Bambino Zinfandel 2016
              Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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              • Preston Vineyards VZN1 Zinfandel 2016 Front Label
                Preston Vineyards VZN1 Zinfandel 2016
                Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                • Robert Craig Cellars Black Sears Vineyard Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
                  Robert Craig Cellars Black Sears Vineyard Zinfandel 2016
                  Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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                    Currently Unavailable $56.99
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                  • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2016
                    Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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                    • Turley Cedarman Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
                      Turley Cedarman Zinfandel 2016
                      Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
                      • RP91
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                    • Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
                      Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2016
                      Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                      • RP93
                      • WS93
                      • CG90
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                    • Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2016  Front Label
                      Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2016
                      Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
                      • RP94
                      • WS94
                      • CG91
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $99.97
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