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 Noir1953
- Cabernet Sauvignon1815
- Other Red Blends1547
- Bordeaux Red Blends1047
- Rhône Blends780
- Other Red Wine316
- Cabernet Franc171
- Petite Sirah164
- Tuscan Blends83
- Nero d'Avola36
- Petit Verdot19
- Touriga Nacional10
- St. Laurent10
- Alicante Bouschet2
- Pinot Meunier1
Rancho Zabaco Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Ledson Winery & Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Frog's Leap Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from California
Wines 4 Cures 4 Foxes Napa Valley Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Brazin Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
Cline Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from California
Chase Family Hayne Vineyard Estate Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from St. Helena, Napa Valley, California
DeLoach O.F.S. Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Starry Night Winery Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Three Winery Old Vines Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
Sebastiani Sonoma County Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Artezin Dry Creek Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Primaterra Primitivo 2007Zinfandel from Italy
Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from California
Charles Krug St. Helena-Napa Valley Zinfandel 2007Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California