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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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  • Sebastiani Domenici Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Sebastiani Domenici Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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    • Firestone Old Vine Zinfandel 1997
      Zinfandel from California
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      • EOS Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
        EOS Zinfandel 1997
        Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
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        • Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel (scuffed label) 1997 Front Label
          Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel (scuffed label) 1997
          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
          • RP96
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        • Rabbit Ridge Sonoma Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
          Rabbit Ridge Sonoma Zinfandel 1997
          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
          • WS88
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        • Ravenswood Barricia Vineyard Zinfandel 1997  Front Label
          Ravenswood Barricia Vineyard Zinfandel 1997
          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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          • Ravenswood Monte Rosso Zinfandel 1997
            Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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            • CK Mondavi Zinfandel 1997
              Zinfandel from California
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              • Bonverre Zinfandel 1997
                Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                • Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                  Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
                  Zinfandel from California
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                  • Clos Du Val Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                    Clos Du Val Zinfandel 1997
                    Zinfandel from California
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                    • Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                      Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
                      Zinfandel from California
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                      • Steele Shooting Star Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                        Steele Shooting Star Zinfandel 1997
                        Zinfandel from California
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                        • Kunde Estate Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                          Kunde Estate Zinfandel 1997
                          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                          • Napa Ridge Zinfandel 1997
                            Zinfandel from California
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                            • Baron Herzog Zinfandel (OU Kosher) 1997 Front Label
                              Baron Herzog Zinfandel (OU Kosher) 1997
                              Zinfandel from California
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                              • Beaulieu Vineyard BV Coastal Estates Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                Beaulieu Vineyard BV Coastal Estates Zinfandel 1997
                                Zinfandel from California
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                                • Rodney Strong Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                  Rodney Strong Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
                                  Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                  • Kempton Clark M.A.D. Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                    Kempton Clark M.A.D. Zinfandel 1997
                                    Zinfandel from California
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                                    • Gundlach Bundschu Rhinefarm Estate Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                      Gundlach Bundschu Rhinefarm Estate Zinfandel 1997
                                      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                      • Fetzer Home Ranch Zinfandel 1997
                                        Zinfandel from North Coast, California
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                                        • Buehler Zinfandel 1997
                                          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                                          • Dynamite Vineyards Evangelho Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                            Dynamite Vineyards Evangelho Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
                                            Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                                            • Franciscan Estate Zinfandel 1997
                                              Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                                              • Rosenblum Cellars RustRidge Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                                Rosenblum Cellars RustRidge Zinfandel 1997
                                                Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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