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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Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Renwood Winery Old Vine Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Kenwood Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Gallo of Sonoma Reserve Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Murphy-Goode Snake Eyes Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Turley Old Vines Zinfandel (scuffed label) 2004Zinfandel from California
Brass Tacks Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from North Coast, California
Estancia Paso Robles Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from California
Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from North Coast, California
Renwood Winery Grandmere Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from California
Valley of the Moon Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Bocce Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from California
Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from California
Gary Farrell Dry Creek Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Wild Horse Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2004Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California