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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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  • 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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      • Rabbit Ridge Sonoma Zinfandel 1996
        Zinfandel from 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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          • 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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              • 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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                  • 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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                        • Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                          Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel 1996
                          Zinfandel from North Coast, California
                          • RP87
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                        • Markham Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                          Markham Zinfandel 1996
                          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                          • WS87
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                        • Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Zinfandel 1996
                          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                          • Beringer Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                            Beringer Zinfandel 1996
                            Zinfandel from California
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                            • Clos du Bois Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                              Clos du Bois Zinfandel 1996
                              Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                              • Charles Krug Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                Charles Krug 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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                                  • Kenwood Mazonni Ranch Reserve Zinfindel 1996 Front Label
                                    Kenwood Mazonni Ranch Reserve Zinfindel 1996
                                    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                    • Rabbit Ridge Ranch Estate Zinfandel 1996
                                      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                      • EOS Zinfandel 1996 Front Label
                                        EOS Zinfandel 1996
                                        Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
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                                        • Kenwood Sonoma Zinfandel 1996
                                          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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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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                                            • 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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