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.
- Pinot Noir1451
- Cabernet Sauvignon1345
- Bordeaux Red Blends1050
- Other Red Blends958
- Rhône Blends446
- Other Red Wine174
- Cabernet Franc102
- Petite Sirah82
- Tuscan Blends48
- Nero d'Avola22
- Petit Verdot8
- Touriga Nacional5
- St. Laurent3
- Nerello Mascalese2
- Alicante Bouschet1
Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Turley Grist Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Lake Sonoma Winery Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Turley Cedarman Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Zinfandelic Amador County Old Vine Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from California
Williams Selyem Feeney Vineyard Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Turley Dogtown Vineyard Zinfandel (torn label) 2005Zinfandel from Lodi, California
Turley Moore Earthquake Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Renwood Winery Fiddletown Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Cline Sonoma Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Turley Hayne Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Woodenhead Braccialini Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Rosenblum Cellars Snows Lake Vineyard Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Ravenswood Barricia Vineyard Zinfandel 2005Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California