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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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  • Rabbit Ridge Sonoma Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Rabbit Ridge Sonoma Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
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    18 99
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  • Edmeades Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Edmeades Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from North Coast, California
    • WS86
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  • Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vine Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vine Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
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  • Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WS90
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  • Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel 1997  Front Label
    Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
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    Currently Unavailable $29.97
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  • Benziger Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS85
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  • Jeff Cohn Cellars Alegria Vineyard Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1997 Front Label
    Jeff Cohn Cellars Alegria Vineyard Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS89
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    Currently Unavailable $51.99
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  • Cline Big Break Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Cline Big Break Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WE90
    • WS90
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    28 99
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  • St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
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    24 49
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  • Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
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    Currently Unavailable $20.24
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    22 49
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  • Cline Bridgehead Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Cline Bridgehead Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
    • WS90
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    27 49
    24 74
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  • Fife Mendocino Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Fife Mendocino Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
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    Currently Unavailable $18.44
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    20 49
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  • Gallo of Sonoma Frei Ranch Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Gallo of Sonoma Frei Ranch Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • RP89
    • WS88
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    19 99
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  • Eberle Steinbeck Vineyard Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Eberle Steinbeck Vineyard Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
    • WS88
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    Currently Unavailable $16.19
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    17 99
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  • Fife Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Fife Old Vines Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
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  • Alderbrook Winery Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Alderbrook Winery Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
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  • Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel (torn label) 1997  Front Label
    Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel (torn label) 1997
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP93
    • WS90
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  • St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel (1.5 L) - Etched Bottle 1997
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
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    Currently Unavailable $108.89
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    120 99
    108 89
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  • Turley Aida Zinfandel 1997 Front Label
    Turley Aida Zinfandel 1997
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP95
    • WS90
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    Currently Unavailable $155.00
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    155
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