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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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  • Paul Dolan Vineyards Organically Grown Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
    Paul Dolan Vineyards Organically Grown Zinfandel 2019
    Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
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  • DeLoach Heritage Reserve Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
    DeLoach Heritage Reserve Zinfandel 2019
    Zinfandel from California
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    • Driscoll Wine Co Tilth Zinfandel 2019 Front Label
      Driscoll Wine Co Tilth Zinfandel 2019
      Zinfandel from California
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      • Criss Cross Old Vine Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
        Criss Cross Old Vine Zinfandel 2019
        Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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        • Kivelstadt Cellars KC Labs Zin 2019  Front Label
          Kivelstadt Cellars KC Labs Zin 2019
          Zinfandel from Mendocino, California
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          • Camp Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
            Camp Zinfandel 2019
            Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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            • Covenant Mensch Zinfandel (OU Kosher) 2019  Front Label
              Covenant Mensch Zinfandel (OU Kosher) 2019
              Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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              • Arnot-Roberts Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
                Arnot-Roberts Zinfandel 2019
                Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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                • Limerick Lane Russian River Zinfandel 2019  Front Label
                  Limerick Lane Russian River Zinfandel 2019
                  Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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