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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 Old Vines Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
    Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 1996
    Zinfandel from California
    • WS90
    • RP90
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  • EOS Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
    EOS Zinfandel 1996
    Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
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    • Ballentine Estate Zinfandel 1996
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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      • Buehler Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
        Buehler Zinfandel 1996
        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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        • Charles Krug Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
          Charles Krug Zinfandel 1996
          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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          • Morgan Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
            Morgan Zinfandel 1996
            Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
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            • Rabbit Ridge Sonoma Zinfandel 1996
              Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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              • A. Rafanelli Dry Creek Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                A. Rafanelli Dry Creek Zinfandel 1996
                Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                • Ballentine Napa Zinfandel Libero Vineyard 1996 Front Label
                  Ballentine Napa Zinfandel Libero Vineyard 1996
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                  • Fetzer Home Ranch Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                    Fetzer Home Ranch Zinfandel 1996
                    Zinfandel from North Coast, California
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                    • Robert Mondavi Coastal Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                      Robert Mondavi Coastal Zinfandel 1996
                      Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
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                      • Louis Martini Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                        Louis Martini Zinfandel 1996
                        Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                        • Tessera Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                          Tessera Zinfandel 1996
                          Zinfandel from California
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                          • Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                            Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Zinfandel 1996
                            Zinfandel from California
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                            • La Crema Reserve Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                              La Crema Reserve Zinfandel 1996
                              Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                              • Napa Ridge Zinfandel 1996
                                Zinfandel from California
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                                • Peachy Canyon Especial Zinfandel 1996
                                  Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
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                                  • Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                    Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel 1996
                                    Zinfandel from North Coast, California
                                    • RP87
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                                  • Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Zinfandel 1996
                                    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                                    • Markham Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                      Markham Zinfandel 1996
                                      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                                      • WS87
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                                    • Belvedere Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                      Belvedere Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 1996
                                      Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                                      • WS85
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                                    • Kenwood Sonoma Zinfandel 1996
                                      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                      • Valley of the Moon Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                        Valley of the Moon Zinfandel 1996
                                        Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                        • Gallo of Sonoma Stefani Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                          Gallo of Sonoma Stefani Zinfandel 1996
                                          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
                                          • WS90
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                                        • Kenwood Mazonni Ranch Reserve Zinfindel 1996 Front Label
                                          Kenwood Mazonni Ranch Reserve Zinfindel 1996
                                          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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