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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.

29 Items
  • Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • TP92
    • RP90
    4.1 28 Ratings
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  • Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    Storybook Mountain Estate Reserve Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • CG93
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  • BACA Cat's Cradle Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    BACA Cat's Cradle Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Rockpile, Sonoma County, California
    • JD93
    • WW91
    0.0 0 Ratings
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  • Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Santa Margarita Ranch, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WE91
    • WW90
    3.5 55 Ratings
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  • Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
    Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2018
    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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    • BACA Home Base Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
      BACA Home Base Zinfandel 2018
      Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • WE91
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    • Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
      Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2018
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • D93
      • WS92
      • WE90
      0.0 0 Ratings
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    • Scott Harvey InZINerator Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
      Scott Harvey InZINerator Zinfandel 2018
      Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
      • WE91
      • WW90
      3.5 38 Ratings
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    • Acre Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
      Acre Zinfandel 2018
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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      • Barra of Mendocino Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
        Barra of Mendocino Zinfandel 2018
        Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
        • WE89
        0.0 0 Ratings
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      • Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
        Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2018
        Zinfandel from Lodi, California
        • WE92
        • WS90
        4.2 18 Ratings
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      • Joel Gott Zinfandel 2018 Front Label
        Joel Gott Zinfandel 2018
        Zinfandel from California
          3.6 13 Ratings
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          Currently Unavailable $16.99
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        • 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
          7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2018
          Zinfandel from Lodi, California
            3.8 18 Ratings
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            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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          • GEN5 Zinfandel 2018 Front Label
            GEN5 Zinfandel 2018
            Zinfandel from Lodi, California
            • WE88
            0.0 0 Ratings
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          • Cline Live Oak Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
            Cline Live Oak Zinfandel 2018
            Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
              4.4 9 Ratings
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              Currently Unavailable $39.99
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            • Cline Big Break Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
              Cline Big Break Zinfandel 2018
              Zinfandel from San Francisco Bay, Central Coast, California
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              • Radio-Coteau Lemorel Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                Radio-Coteau Lemorel Zinfandel 2018
                Zinfandel from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
                • V94
                0.0 0 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $81.99
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              • Hendry Block 7 and 22 Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                Hendry Block 7 and 22 Zinfandel 2018
                Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                • JD90
                0.0 0 Ratings
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              • Mount Peak Rattlesnake Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                Mount Peak Rattlesnake Zinfandel 2018
                Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
                • RP93
                • JS90
                0.0 0 Ratings
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              • Scott Harvey Old Vine Reserve Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                Scott Harvey Old Vine Reserve Zinfandel 2018
                Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
                • WW91
                • WE90
                3.9 6 Ratings
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                Currently Unavailable $34.99
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              • Hook and Ladder Estate Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                Hook and Ladder Estate Zinfandel 2018
                Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
                  0.0 0 Ratings
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                • Keenan Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                  Keenan Zinfandel 2018
                  Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
                  • WW90
                  0.0 0 Ratings
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                • Alexander Valley Vineyards Sin Zin Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                  Alexander Valley Vineyards Sin Zin Zinfandel 2018
                  Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
                    3.8 6 Ratings
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                    Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                  • Day Sonoma Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                    Day Sonoma Zinfandel 2018
                    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
                      0.0 0 Ratings
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                    • Scott Harvey Vineyard 1869 Old Vine Zinfandel 2018  Front Label
                      Scott Harvey Vineyard 1869 Old Vine Zinfandel 2018
                      Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
                      • WE90
                      • WW90
                      0.0 0 Ratings
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                      Currently Unavailable $51.99
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                      51 99
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