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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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  • The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel  Front Label
    The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel
    Zinfandel from California
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    • Rosenblum Cellars Cuvee XXII Zinfandel Front Label
      Rosenblum Cellars Cuvee XXII Zinfandel
      Zinfandel from California
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          Peju Province Provence
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          • Rosenblum Cellars Vintners Cuvee XXXVII Zinfandel Front Label
            Rosenblum Cellars Vintners Cuvee XXXVII Zinfandel
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            • Palisades Point Zinfandel  Front Label
              Palisades Point Zinfandel
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              • Candor Zinfandel  Front Label
                Candor Zinfandel
                Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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                • Van Ruiten Glory Days Zinfandel  Front Label
                  Van Ruiten Glory Days Zinfandel
                  Zinfandel from California
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                  • Cook's Blush Sweet Rose  Front Label
                    Cook's Blush Sweet Rose
                    Zinfandel from California
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