Grape Lessons Zinfandel | The American Grape

What is Zinfandel
Zinfandel can be an easy "quaffer" to enjoy by itself or with cheese and other appetizers.  It can also be a beast!
A beast that is big, is a structured red wine, that needs some red meat to be paired with.
On any and all of the above, Zinfandel is despite its longevity in the US, the most misunderstood grapes thanks to white zinfandel.  Regardless of his Italian twin, Primitivo which has its home in the south of Italy, Zinfandel is originally from Croatia and likely found its way to California during the Gold rush times dating back to the 1850.

California Zinfandel shows great fruit aromatics like blackcurrant, plum and raisins.  Through the oak aging it often picks up some cedar, smoke and white pepper notes and depending
on style can have a long finish on the palate.

Where to Find Zinfandel
Zinfandel can be found in various wine producing states within the US, but is mostly known for its California Zinfandels. In California Zin is grown in Sonoma County, Lodi, Mendocino County amongst others.  Each different region produces different styles Zinfandel.  As example for me, Lodi, which has some of the oldest vines, produces nice juicy Zins whereas Amador produces big full bodied Zinfandel and San Luis Opispo a softer and rounder version.

How to Pair Zinfandel
A lighter style Zinfandel can be paired with some nice cheeses and mild appetizers
More intense versions should be paired up with Lamb, Venison or mild bbq meats
Full bodied Zinfandels pair very well with red meats such as Rib eye steaks or boldly flavored bbq meats.


I like a range of Zinfandels, but Klincker Brick is certainly a great value amongst Lodi Zinfandels, whereas the Bedrock Zin from Sonoma County offers bold aromas of wild berries and licorice with hints of sage and brown baking spices.  Beyond those and many more, I am of course impressed with Turley's expressions of Zinfandel.  Terrior does exist!

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