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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 Hayne Zinfandel 2008  Front Label
    Turley Hayne Zinfandel 2008
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP97
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  • Caymus Zinfandel (bin soiled label) 1998
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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    • Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2006 Front Label
      Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2006
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • W&S95
      4.1 16 Ratings
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      60
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    • Sineann Old Vine Zinfandel 1999 Front Label
      Sineann Old Vine Zinfandel 1999
      Zinfandel from Columbia Valley, Washington
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      • Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2010 Front Label
        Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2010
        Zinfandel from California
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        • Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2005  Front Label
          Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2005
          Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
          • RP93
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        • Turley Juvenile Zinfandel 2006  Front Label
          Turley Juvenile Zinfandel 2006
          Zinfandel from California
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          • Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2006 Front Label
            Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2006
            Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
            • 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 Cedarman Zinfandel 2005  Front Label
            Turley Cedarman Zinfandel 2005
            Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
            • RP92
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          • Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2006 Front Label
            Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2006
            Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
            • RP91
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          • Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2006 Front Label
            Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2006
            Zinfandel from California
            • RP90
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          • Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel 2005 Front Label
            Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel 2005
            Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
              3.9 7 Ratings
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            • Hartford Hartford Vineyard Zinfandel 2001  Front Bottle Shot
              Hartford Hartford Vineyard Zinfandel 2001
              Zinfandel from California
              • RP95
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            • Hartford Fanucchi-Wood Road Zinfandel 2001  Front Bottle Shot
              Hartford Fanucchi-Wood Road Zinfandel 2001
              Zinfandel from California
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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 Dusi Zinfandel 2006 Front Label
                Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2006
                Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
                • RP93
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              • Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 1996
                Zinfandel from California
                • WS90
                • RP90
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              • LangeTwins Lewis Vineyard Centennial Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
                LangeTwins Lewis Vineyard Centennial Zinfandel 2011
                Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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                • Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
                  Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2007
                  Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
                  • RP93
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                • Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
                  Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2000
                  Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
                  • RP90
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                • Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel 2007 Front Label
                  Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel 2007
                  Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
                  • WE93
                  • RP92
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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 Old Vines Zinfandel 2001  Front Label
                  Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2001
                  Zinfandel from California
                  • WE91
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                • Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2008 Front Label
                  Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2008
                  Zinfandel from Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, California
                  • RP96
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