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 was born in Croatia and later 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.
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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Gallo of Sonoma Reserve Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Rosenblum Cellars Richard Sauret Vineyard Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Rosenblum Cellars Continente Vineyard Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Beringer Founders Estate Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from California
Wild Horse Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Kangarilla Road Langhorne Creek Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Australia
Limerick Lane Collins Vineyard Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Talus Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from California
La Corte Anfora Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Italy
Kenwood Zinfandel Lodi Old Vines 2003Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Echelon Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from California
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from North Coast, California
Renwood Winery Old Vine Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Wente Smith Bench Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Haywood Los Chamizal Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Folie a Deux Amador County Zinfandel 2003Zinfandel from California