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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 was born in Croatia and later 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.

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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  • Rombauer California Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
    Rombauer California Zinfandel 2001
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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    • Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
      Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • RP91
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    • Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
      Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Lodi, California
      • RP91
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    • Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
      Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      • WS93
      • RP93
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    • Turley Hayne Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
      Turley Hayne Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      • RP97
      • WS94
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    • Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
      Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
      • RP92
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    • Turley Pringle Family Zinfandel 2001 Front Label
      Turley Pringle Family Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
      • RP96
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    • Gary Farrell Maple Vineyard Tina's Block Zinfandel 2001  Front Label
      Gary Farrell Maple Vineyard Tina's Block Zinfandel 2001
      Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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