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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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  • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2002 Front Label
    Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2002
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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    • A. Rafanelli Dry Creek Zinfandel 2002
      Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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      • Carlisle Sonoma Valley Zinfandel 2002 Front Label
        Carlisle Sonoma Valley Zinfandel 2002
        Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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        • A. Rafanelli Dry Creek Zinfandel (375ml half bottles) 2002
          Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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          • Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel 2002 Front Label
            Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel 2002
            Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
            • RP95
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          • Mara Dolinsek Ranch Reserve Zinfandel 2002
            Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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            • Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2002
              Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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              • Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel 2002
                Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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                • Turley Hayne Zinfandel 2002
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                  • Turley Vineyard 101 Zinfandel 2002 Front Label
                    Turley Vineyard 101 Zinfandel 2002
                    Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                    • RP92
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                  • Turley Grist Zinfandel 2002 Front Label
                    Turley Grist Zinfandel 2002
                    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
                    • RP90
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                  • Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2002  Front Label
                    Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2002
                    Zinfandel from California
                    • RP91
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                  • Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel 2002 Front Label
                    Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel 2002
                    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                    • WS97
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