Zinfandel was regarded as California's own grape for a century ... until it was discovered that it was the same as the ancient Italian variety, Primitivo.
Zinfandel arrived in California, via Boston, from Europe in the 1850s. By the 1870s the grapes were referred to as Zinfandel, and the original vines as Black Saint Peters. Californian Zin produces wines in a wide range of styles, from lighter reds full of elegant, crushed berry flavors to darker, full-bodied reds, rich in spicy cassis. Generally, the older the vines the richer and more complex the wine.
Zinfandel thrives in Sonoma County, Central Coast's Lodi and other parts of California, where it is also used to produce its sweeter rosé counterpart, White Zinfandel.
Dark, purple-red color with intense crushed raspberry, cranberry, and spicy chocolate.
Wines to Try
William Knuttel, DeLoach Private Collection, Black Saint Peter Old Vine Zinfandel, Petticoat (White Zinfandel)
Puglia, Sonoma County, Lodi, Santa Cruz
Crljenak Kaštelanski, Gioia Del Colle, Locale, Morellone, Primitivo, Taranto
- Though at its most abundant in Italy and the US, tests revealed that the grape itself is of Croatian origin.
- If you enjoy a glass of Zinfandel, you may also love full-bodied Australian reds - try Andrew McPherson's The Full Fifteen or The Black Stump Durif/Shiraz.