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 Sonoma, 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.
Successful Wine Region:
raspberry, briary, blackberry, pepper, exotic spice
Summertime is synonymous with BBQ, but do you always have to have it with beer? No, I say! There is plenty of room on the table for a great glass of vino to go with everything from brisket to ribs. Here is a quick guide to some BBQ terms, foods, and the wines to go with them!
What did Zinfandel really want to be? Before the late 1960’s, California was all about cheap dessert wines- White Port, Tokay, Sauternes (skid road sweet wines). Only a handful of producers made varietal wines and they were largely limited to Chardonnay (then called Pinot Chardonnay) and Cabernet Sauvignon. When the first varietal revolution began in the late 1960’s, Zinfandel was in the mix. Continue reading The Wayward Zin has come home…→
Though Zinfandel is often called the “California grape,” its origins are slightly further away. Where is origin of Zinfandel? In 2000, Carole Meredith, co-proprietor of Lagier-Meredith and American grape geneticist, published findings that suggested Croatia was the origin of this varietal. Before this, many in the industry believed Zinfandel was possibly a descendant of Primitivo, the Southern Italian grape. It’s true that Zinfandel and Primitivo are related, but they are both clones of Crljenak, a native variety of Croatia. Continue reading Kicking off California Wine Month with Zin!→