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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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  • Simi Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Simi Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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    • Bonverre Zinfandel 1997
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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      • Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
        Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Zinfandel 1997
        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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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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              • Kunde Estate Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                Kunde Estate Zinfandel 1997
                Zinfandel from Sonoma County, 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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                • Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel (torn label) 1997  Front Label
                  Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel (torn label) 1997
                  Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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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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                  • Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                    Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Zinfandel 1997
                    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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                    • Clos Du Val Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                      Clos Du Val Zinfandel 1997
                      Zinfandel from California
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                      • Ravenswood Monte Rosso Zinfandel 1997
                        Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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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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                          • CK Mondavi Zinfandel 1997
                            Zinfandel from California
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                            • Edmeades Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                              Edmeades Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel 1997
                              Zinfandel from North Coast, California
                              • WS86
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                            • Napa Ridge 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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                                • Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                  Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines 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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                                    • Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                      Villa Mt. Eden Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
                                      Zinfandel from 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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                                        • Beaulieu Vineyard BV Coastal Estates Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                          Beaulieu Vineyard BV Coastal Estates Zinfandel 1997
                                          Zinfandel from 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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                                            • Rodney Strong Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
                                              Rodney Strong Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
                                              Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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