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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.

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  • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • WS92
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  • Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WE94
    • WS92
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  • Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WS95
    • RP94
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  • Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS95
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  • Sausal Winery Family Old Vine Estate Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Sausal Winery Family Old Vine Estate Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
    3.1 8 Ratings
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  • Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Turley Tofanelli Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • WS93
    • RP92
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  • Folie a Deux Dry Creek Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Folie a Deux Dry Creek Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WS88
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  • Bianchi Vineyards Paso Robles Heritage Selection Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Bianchi Vineyards Paso Robles Heritage Selection Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WS90
    3.2 5 Ratings
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  • Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS87
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  • Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS88
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS90
    • RP90
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2009 Front Label
    Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS90
    • RP90
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  • Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from North Coast, California
    • WS89
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  • Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from North Coast, California
    • WS87
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  • Four Vines The Maverick Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Four Vines The Maverick Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS90
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  • Hartford Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Hartford Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • RP93
    • WS92
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  • Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
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  • Buehler Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Buehler Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • WS91
    3.5 6 Ratings
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  • Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS89
    • W&S88
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  • The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from California
    • WS88
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  • Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
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  • Carlisle Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel 2009  Front Label
    Carlisle Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • RP94
    • WS93
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  • Robert Biale Vineyards Old Crane Ranch Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Robert Biale Vineyards Old Crane Ranch Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from St. Helena, Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • WS91
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  • Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP92
    • WS90
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    Currently Unavailable $49.99
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  • Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel 2009 Front Label
    Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard Zinfandel 2009
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
    0.0 0 Ratings
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    Currently Unavailable $89.00
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