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Zinfandel

Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward...

Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

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 vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

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  • Rombauer California Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from California
    • WW90
    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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  • Four Vines Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2014
    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
    • WE91
    • WW90
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  • Seghesio Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2012
    Zinfandel from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma County, California
    • WW94
    • RP92
    • WS91
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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  • Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2015
    Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
    • WS90
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  • Louis Martini Monte Rosso Gnarly Vine Zinfandel 2014
    Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
    • RP95
    • TP93
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  • Inglenook Edizione Pennino Zinfandel 2014
    Zinfandel from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
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    • Amapola Creek Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel 2013
      Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • RP95
      Currently Unavailable $38.99
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    • Storybook Mountain Mayacamas Range Zinfandel (375ML half-bottle) 2013
      Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
      • W&S94
      • WW90
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    • Seghesio Cortina Zinfandel 2013
      Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
      • RP94
      • WS94
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    • Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel 2015
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • WS92
      • WW90
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    • Lake Sonoma Winery Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2013
      Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
      • TP93
      • WW92
      Currently Unavailable $14.99
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    • Bedrock Wine Company California Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
      Zinfandel from California
      • WS93
      • RP90
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    • Limerick Lane Russian River Zinfandel 2014
      Zinfandel from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
      • RP94
      • WS92
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    • Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2013
      Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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      • The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel 2015
        Zinfandel from California
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        • Concrete Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
          Zinfandel from Lodi, California
          • TP93
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        • 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel 2015
          Zinfandel from California
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          • Terra d'Oro Home Vineyard Zinfandel 2014
            Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
            • WE92
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          • Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
            Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
            • WS93
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          • Predator Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
            Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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            • Joullian Sias Cuvee Zinfandel 2013
              Zinfandel from Carmel Valley, Monterey, Central Coast, California
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              • OZV Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
                Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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                • Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2014
                  Zinfandel from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
                  • WE90
                  Currently Unavailable $15.99
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                • Mazzocco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2013
                  Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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                  • Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2014
                    Zinfandel from Lodi, California
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