Learn about Zinfandel — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
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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Robert Biale Vineyards Spenker Vineyard Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Hartford Dina's Vineyard Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Robert Biale Vineyards Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
Robert Biale Vineyards Zinfandel Old Pato Ranch 2001Zinfandel from California
Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Turley Hayne Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Hartford Hartford Vineyard Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from California
Hartford Fanucchi-Wood Road Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from California
Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Clos du Bois Dry Creek Reserve Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Girard Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Lodi, California
La Crema Russian River Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
J. Garcia Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from California
Ferrari-Carano Dry Creek Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Edmeades Piffero Vineyard Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Ravenswood Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Alderbrook Winery Old Vine Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Neyers Pato Ranch Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Bonny Doon Cardinal Zin 2001Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Renwood Winery Jack Rabbit Flat Zinfandel 2001Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California