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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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  • Ballentine BG Reserve Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Ballentine BG Reserve Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • WE92
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  • Fife Whaler Vineyard Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • DeLoach Saitone Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • DeLoach Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
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  • Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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  • Kendall-Jackson Great Estates Mendocino Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Kendall-Jackson Great Estates Mendocino Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WE91
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  • Clos LaChance El Dorado Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Clos LaChance El Dorado Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
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  • Rancho Zabaco Chiotti Vineyard Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Rancho Zabaco Chiotti Vineyard Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • Terra d'Oro SHR Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Terra d'Oro SHR Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
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  • Gallo of Sonoma Barrelli Creek Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WE88
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  • Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • Geyser Peak Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Geyser Peak Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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    • WE85
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  • DeLoach Barbieri Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • DeLoach Gambogi Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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  • Clos du Bois Dry Creek Reserve Zinfandel 2000 Front Label
    Clos du Bois Dry Creek Reserve Zinfandel 2000
    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WE90
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