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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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  • Martinelli Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Martinelli Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
    • RP90
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  • Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Dusi Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
    • WS95
    • RP93
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  • Carlisle Napa Valley Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Carlisle Napa Valley Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • WS93
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  • Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Pesenti Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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    • RP93
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  • Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Dragon Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • WS94
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  • XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from California
    • WS89
    4.2 6 Ratings
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
    • CG90
    4.3 45 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $19.99
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  • Williams Selyem Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Williams Selyem Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WE94
    • WS92
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  • Hartford Highwire Vineyard Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Hartford Highwire Vineyard Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WE91
    • WS90
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  • Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS88
    • TP88
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2011 Front Label
    Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2011
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
    • CG90
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  • Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from California
    • WS90
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  • Buehler Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Buehler Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • WS88
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  • Easton Amador County Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Easton Amador County Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Sierra Foothills, California
    • WS90
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  • Ridge Paso Robles Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Ridge Paso Robles Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • WS91
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  • Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
    • D92
    4.1 5 Ratings
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  • Hartford Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Hartford Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS91
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  • Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2011 Front Label
    Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2011
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
    • D92
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  • Turley Heminway Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Heminway Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • WS94
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  • Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from California
    • WS91
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  • Turley Juvenile Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Juvenile Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from California
    • WS91
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    Currently Unavailable $49.97
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  • Turley Salvador Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Salvador Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
    • RP92
    • WS92
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  • Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    • RP94
    • WS94
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  • Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Turley Ueberroth Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
    • RP95
    • WS91
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  • Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard Zinfandel 2011 Front Label
    Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard Zinfandel 2011
    Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • WS92
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    Currently Unavailable $84.99
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