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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Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from California
Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Easton Shenandoah Valley Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Shenandoah Valley, Sierra Foothills, California
Haywood Los Chamizal Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Adobe Road Kemp Vineyard Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Four Vines The Maverick Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
DeLoach Russian River Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Michael David Winery 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from California
Turley Duarte Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
Turley Juvenile Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from California
Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Ravenswood Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
LangeTwins Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from California
Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
D-Cubed Cellars Napa Valley Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Kenwood Sonoma Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Frog's Leap Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Frog's Leap Zinfandel (3 Liter Bottle) 2010Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Lake Sonoma Winery Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from North Coast, California
Williams Selyem Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Jason-Stephens Estate Zinfandel 2010Zinfandel from Santa Clara Valley, San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California