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Zinfandel

Learn about Zinfandel — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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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 Pesenti Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • RP93
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  • Cypher Winery ZinBitch Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
    Cypher Winery ZinBitch Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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    • Joseph Swan Bastoni Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
      Joseph Swan Bastoni Zinfandel 2012
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • WE91
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      34 99
      34 99
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    • Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
      Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2012
      Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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      • Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
        • WW90
        4.1 34 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $15.99
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        15 99
        15 99
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      • Turley Heminway Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Turley Heminway Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
        • RP94
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        79 99
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      • Peterson Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Peterson Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
        • WE90
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        24 99
        24 99
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      • Decoy Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Decoy Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
        • WE90
        3.9 7 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $19.99
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        25
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      • Peachy Canyon Chillhouse Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
        Peachy Canyon Chillhouse Zinfandel 2012
        Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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          19 99
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        • Joseph Swan Mancini Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
          Joseph Swan Mancini Zinfandel 2012
          Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
          • RP90
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          38
          34 99
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        • Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
          Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel 2012
          Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
          • RP94
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          Currently Unavailable $79.99
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          79 99
          79 99
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        • XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
          XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
          Zinfandel from California
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            17 99
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          • Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
            Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2012
            Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
            • WS93
            • WE90
            0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $57.99
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            57 99
            57 99
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          • GEN5 Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
            GEN5 Zinfandel 2012
            Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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              9 98
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            • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
              Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2012
              Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
              • RP94
              0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $79.97
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              79 97
              79 97
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            • Mazzocco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
              Mazzocco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012
              Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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              • Frei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Frei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                • RP89
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              • Turley Estate Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Turley Estate Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                • RP93
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              • Tortoise Creek Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Tortoise Creek Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Lodi, California
                • WE90
                3.9 8 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                14 99
                14 99
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              • Shannon Ridge High Elevation Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Shannon Ridge High Elevation Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Lake County, North Coast, California
                • WE90
                3.8 6 Ratings
                Currently Unavailable $11.99
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              • Boneshaker Lodi Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                Boneshaker Lodi Zinfandel 2012
                Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
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                • Amapola Creek Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                  Amapola Creek Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel 2012
                  Zinfandel from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                  • RP93
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                • Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                  Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel 2012
                  Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
                  • WS90
                  4.0 6 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $16.99
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                • Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012 Front Label
                  Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2012
                  Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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                  • Seghesio Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2012 Front Label
                    Seghesio Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2012
                    Zinfandel from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                    • WW94
                    • RP92
                    • WS91
                    4.2 10 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $39.98
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                    48
                    39 98
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