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Zinfandel Wine

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. Small quantities of Zinfandel grapes grow in countries as disparate as Mexico, Israel, South Africa, Canada, and Australia. Washington and Oregon produce Zinfandel grapes as well. In Croatia, production increased dramatically in 2001 once the news hit of the connection with Zinfandel grapes and Primitivo. From an early discovery of 22 vines, there are now more than 200,000. In Puglia about 10,000 acres exist. In California, Zinfandel is the second most-planted red grape, after Cabernet Sauvignon, with more than 50,000 acres, and it has been around since the 1850’s at least.

Zinfandel History

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 quality 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. California versions often show blueberry, raspberry, boysenberry, and peach yogurt flavors. Pepper, spice and a brambly character commonly make an appearance as well.

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 Caesar 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. Old to very old Zinfandel grape vines are prized, even though they produce smaller amounts of fruit. The wines made from such gnarly old stumps are avidly sought after. Whatever you call it, Zinfandel is a wine worth exploring.

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  • Turley Buck Cobb Vineyard Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
    Turley Buck Cobb Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS91
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  • Easton Amador County Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
    Easton Amador County Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS92
    3.6 45 Ratings
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    22
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  • Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
    Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    • WS93
    0.0 0 Ratings
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    79 97
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  • Turley Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
    Turley Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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    • Turley Duarte Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
      Turley Duarte Zinfandel 2015
      Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
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        69 97
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      • Foppiano Estate Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
        Foppiano Estate Zinfandel 2015
        Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
        • W&S93
        0.0 0 Ratings
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        Currently Unavailable $29.99
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        29 99
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      • Turley Cedarman Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
        Turley Cedarman Zinfandel 2015
        Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
          4.7 6 Ratings
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          Currently Unavailable $79.97
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          79 97
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        • Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
          Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2015
          Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
            0.0 0 Ratings
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          • Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
            Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2015
            Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
            • WS91
            0.0 0 Ratings
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            79 97
            79 97
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          • Turley Bedrock Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
            Turley Bedrock Zinfandel 2015
            Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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              69 97
              69 97
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            • Caricature Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
              Caricature Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
              Zinfandel from Lodi, California
              • WE90
              0.0 0 Ratings
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              16
              14 99
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            • Girard Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
              Girard Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
              Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                4.5 5 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $28.99
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                28 99
                28 99
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              • Jeff Cohn Cellars Iron Hill Vineyard Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                Jeff Cohn Cellars Iron Hill Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
                Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                • JD93
                • WS91
                • RP91
                0.0 0 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $57.99
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                57 99
                57 99
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              • Ottimino Biglieri Vineyard Zinfandel 2015  Front Label
                Ottimino Biglieri Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
                Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                  4.0 6 Ratings
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                  Currently Unavailable $29.99
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                  29 99
                  29 99
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                • Shannon Ridge High Elevation Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                  Shannon Ridge High Elevation Zinfandel 2015
                  Zinfandel from Lake County, North Coast, California
                    0.0 0 Ratings
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                    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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                    23
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                  • Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                    Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2015
                    Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
                    • WS94
                    0.0 0 Ratings
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                    Currently Unavailable $109.97
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                    109 97
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                  • Frei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                    Frei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2015
                    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
                      4.0 19 Ratings
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                      19 99
                      19 99
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                    • Martinelli Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                      Martinelli Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel 2015
                      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
                        0.0 0 Ratings
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                      • Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                        Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Zinfandel 2015
                        Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                        • WS90
                        0.0 0 Ratings
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                        39 99
                        39 99
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                      • Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                        Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2015
                        Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                        • W&S92
                        • WW92
                        4.0 32 Ratings
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                        Currently Unavailable $34.99
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                        34 99
                        34 99
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                      • Boneshaker Lodi Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                        Boneshaker Lodi Zinfandel 2015
                        Zinfandel from Lodi, California
                        • WE90
                        4.2 24 Ratings
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                        Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                        17 99
                        17 99
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                      • Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                        Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
                        Zinfandel from California
                          3.6 10 Ratings
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                          Currently Unavailable $9.99
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                          9 99
                          9 99
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                        • Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2015  Front Label
                          Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2015
                          Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
                          • W&S92
                          • WW91
                          • WE90
                          4.0 9 Ratings
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                          Currently Unavailable $21.99
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                          25
                          21 99
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                        • Renwood Premier Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                          Renwood Premier Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
                          Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
                          • WE92
                          3.8 31 Ratings
                          Regular price
                          Currently Unavailable $19.99
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                          19 99
                          19 99
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                        • Jeff Cohn Cellars Nun's Canyon Vineyard Zinfandel 2015 Front Label
                          Jeff Cohn Cellars Nun's Canyon Vineyard Zinfandel 2015
                          Zinfandel from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
                          • JD93
                          • RP90
                          0.0 0 Ratings
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                          Currently Unavailable $47.99
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                          47 99
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