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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 Zampatti Vineyard Zinfandel (torn label) 2007 Front Label
    Turley Zampatti Vineyard Zinfandel (torn label) 2007
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • RP93
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  • Storybook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
    Storybook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel 2007
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • CG91
    • W&S90
    • RP90
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  • Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
    Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2007
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS93
    • RP93
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  • Williams Selyem Feeney Vineyard Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
    Williams Selyem Feeney Vineyard Zinfandel 2007
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • RP93
    • WE92
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  • Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
    Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2007
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS96
    • RP92
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  • Medusa Pig Pen Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
    Medusa Pig Pen Zinfandel 2007
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
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    • Ravenswood Dickerson Vineyard Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Ravenswood Dickerson Vineyard Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      • WE94
      • W&S90
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    • Hartford Russian River Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Hartford Russian River Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
      • WS92
      • RP90
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    • Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
      • RP94
      • WS91
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    • Hartford Highwire Vineyard Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Hartford Highwire Vineyard Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • WE96
      • RP92
      • WS91
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    • Carlisle Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Carlisle Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
      • RP93
      • WS92
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    • Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • CG93
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    • Martinelli Giuseppe and Luisa Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Martinelli Giuseppe and Luisa Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
      • RP93
      • WS91
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    • Carlisle Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Carlisle Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • WS95
      • RP92
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    • Turley Salvador Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Turley Salvador Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
      • RP90
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    • Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      • CG96
      • W&S92
      • RP91
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    • Carlisle Rossi Ranch Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Carlisle Rossi Ranch Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • WS93
      • RP92
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    • Ledson Winery & Vineyards Bertetta Vineyard Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
      Ledson Winery & Vineyards Bertetta Vineyard Zinfandel 2007
      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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      • Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
        Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel 2007
        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
        • RP94
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      • Robert Biale Vineyards Thomann Station Petite Sirah 2007 Front Label
        Robert Biale Vineyards Thomann Station Petite Sirah 2007
        Zinfandel from St. Helena, Napa Valley, California
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        • Martinelli Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
          Martinelli Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2007
          Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
          • RP94
          • WS93
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