Zinfandel the American - or Californian - grape. Although it's not from America
(Croatia has been named its origin),
it does seem quite at home in the vineyards of California.
During Prohibition, many
Zinfandel vines survived as the high-yielding grape was popular both for home winemaking and communion wine, which is why so many old vines are still around today. The variety grows
well in the warm, sunny - but not too hot - regions of California and is succeptible to uneven ripening and high yields. In the 1970s, when red wine lacked a following, Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home Winery crafted a sweet pink concoction from the Zinfandel grape, and the White Zinfandel craze was born. As that craze has dwindled, artisan production of the grape in its natural, red form has resurfaced.
While Zinfandel is grown many places in the country, its most popular and successful
region is California. Appellations producing delicious Zinfandel wines include
specifically Dry Creek Valley, Napa, the North Coast, the Central Coast,
and the Sierra Foothills.
Zinfandel stands out with its very berry intensity and exotic spice notes. In some jammy fruit will dominate, in others, it's the spice that wows the palate.
Summing it up Successful Sites: California
Common Descriptors: raspberry, briary, blackberry, pepper, exotic spice
Learn More About Sonoma County, California
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.