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Winemaker’s Roundtable: Five Facts About… Zinfandel

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Shrouded in mystery and rich in history, the bold Zinfandel grape is a notorious and versatile red wine.  Red berry fruit flavors (think raspberry) predominate in wines from cooler areas; whereas blackberry, anise and pepper notes are more common in wines made in warmer areas.

Zinfandel pairs exceptionally well with outdoor-grilled steaks or chops, barbequed meats, rich bolognese sauce, or dark chocolate desserts.  Often more than other wines, a great Zinfandel experience motivates folks to become wine-lovers.

Here are five zinteresting facts about America’s heritage grape!

1.  Zinfandel’s origins used to be unknown, but its DNA can now be traced back to the specific combination of a Croation grape (Crljenak) and an Italian grape (Primativo.)

2.  Zinfandel made its way to California via The Gold Rush in the 1850’s.  Throughout the 20th century, California has been recognized as having the most exceptional regions for growing this hardy grape.

3.  Starting around 1980, Zin achieved widespread popularity in America as a slightly sweet blush wine. In fact, this popularity so outstripped all other forms, that many fans think that there is actually a grape called “White Zinfandel” (there isn’t!)

4.  Zinfandel is considered a chameleon.  It can be made light and fruity, much like French Beaujolais, or lively, complex and age worthy, like Cabernet or claret. It can also be made into big, ripe, high alcohol style wines that resemble Port.

5.  When Zinfandel wine ages, it sometimes tastes “hot” (predominantly alcoholic) and is often at its best within 3-5 years of its vintage.

 

On your next visit to Temecula wine country, be sure to order a bottle of Zinfandel at the following wineries —

 

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