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 Dusi Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
Carlisle Napa Valley Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Ravenswood Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Mountain View Winery Clockspring Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Storybook Mountain Mayacamas Range Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Saucelito Canyon Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
LangeTwins Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from California
Frog's Leap Zinfandel (3 Liter Bottle) 2011Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Williams Selyem Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Saxon Brown Stonewall Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
Plungerhead Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Cellar No. 8 Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from North Coast, California
Hartford Highwire Vineyard Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
ONEHOPE California Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from California
Lava Cap Reserve Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
Cartlidge & Browne Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from North Coast, California
Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Buena Vista Sonoma Zinfandel 2011Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California