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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
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    • RP90
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  • Ballentine Estate 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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      • Robert Mondavi Coastal Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
        Robert Mondavi Coastal Zinfandel 1996
        Zinfandel from Central Coast, 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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          • 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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              • Fetzer Home Ranch Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                Fetzer Home Ranch Zinfandel 1996
                Zinfandel from North Coast, 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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                  • Tessera Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                    Tessera Zinfandel 1996
                    Zinfandel from California
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                    • Napa Ridge Zinfandel 1996
                      Zinfandel from California
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                      • Louis Martini Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                        Louis Martini Zinfandel 1996
                        Zinfandel from Sonoma County, 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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                        • Buehler Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                          Buehler Zinfandel 1996
                          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                          • Foppiano Centennial Harvest Reserve Zinfandel 1996
                            Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                            • Beringer Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                              Beringer Zinfandel 1996
                              Zinfandel from California
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                              • Louis Martini Gnarly Vine Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                Louis Martini Gnarly Vine Zinfandel 1996
                                Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                • Hidden Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel 1996
                                  Zinfandel from North Coast, California
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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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                                  • Peterson Dry Creek Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                    Peterson Dry Creek Zinfandel 1996
                                    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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                                    • Rabbit Ridge Ranch Estate Zinfandel 1996
                                      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                      • Markham Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                        Markham Zinfandel 1996
                                        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                                        • WS87
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                                      • Fetzer Valley Oaks Zinfandel (1.5 L) 1996 Front Label
                                        Fetzer Valley Oaks Zinfandel (1.5 L) 1996
                                        Zinfandel from North Coast, California
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                                        • Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Zinfandel 1996
                                          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                                          • Pedroncelli Pedroni-Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                            Pedroncelli Pedroni-Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel 1996
                                            Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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