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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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  • Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WW90
    4.1 34 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $11.99
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  • Tortoise Creek Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Tortoise Creek Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
    • WE90
    3.9 8 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012 Front Label
    Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • CG92
    • WW91
    • D91
    • WS90
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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  • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $79.97
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  • GEN5 Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    GEN5 Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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      Currently Unavailable $11.99
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    • Mountain View Winery Clockspring Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
      Mountain View Winery Clockspring Zinfandel 2012
      Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
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        Currently Unavailable $16.99
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        20
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      • Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
        • WE90
        4.6 13 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $38.99
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        38 99
        38 99
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      • Bonterra Organically Grown Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Bonterra Organically Grown Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
        • WE90
        3.6 5 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $16.99
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        16 99
        16 99
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      • Robert Craig Cellars Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Robert Craig Cellars Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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          Currently Unavailable $69.99
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          69 99
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        • Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Bambino Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
          Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Bambino Zinfandel 2012
          Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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            Currently Unavailable $23.99
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            23 99
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          • Caricature Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
            Caricature Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
            Zinfandel from California
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              Currently Unavailable $14.99
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              14 99
              14 99
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            • Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
              Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2012
              Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
              • WW91
              • TP90
              3.8 5 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $22.99
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              22 99
              22 99
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            • Frog's Leap Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012 Front Label
              Frog's Leap Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012
              Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
              • W&S91
              4.2 5 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $12.99
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              16
              12 99
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            • Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012 Front Label
              Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012
              Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
              • CG91
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $19.99
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              24 99
              19 99
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            • Cline Bridgehead Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
              Cline Bridgehead Zinfandel 2012
              Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
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                37
                29 99
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              • Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                • W&S91
                • WW90
                3.8 6 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                21 99
                21 99
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              • Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
                • W&S90
                0.0 0 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                25
                18 99
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              • Cline Sonoma Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Cline Sonoma Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                  Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                  17 99
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                • Storybook Mountain Mayacamas Range Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012 Front Label
                  Storybook Mountain Mayacamas Range Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                  • CG90
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $22.99
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                  22 99
                  22 99
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                • Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                  Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2012
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                  • W&S91
                  3.5 5 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $31.99
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                  31 99
                  31 99
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                • Cline Big Break Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                  Cline Big Break Zinfandel 2012
                  Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
                  • WE92
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                  29 99
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                • Storybook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                  Storybook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel 2012
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                  • W&S94
                  0.0 0 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $59.99
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                  59 99
                  59 99
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                • Heitz Cellar Ink Grade Vineyard Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                  Heitz Cellar Ink Grade Vineyard Zinfandel 2012
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                    Currently Unavailable $31.99
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                    31 99
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                  • Cline Live Oak Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                    Cline Live Oak Zinfandel 2012
                    Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
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                      37
                      29 99
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                    • Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                      Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2012
                      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                      • W&S94
                      • WS90
                      0.0 0 Ratings
                      Currently Unavailable $69.99
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                      69 99
                      69 99
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