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Zinfandel or Primitivo, is there a difference? At ZYN we are often asked that question and the answer is yes, but ...
When we tell our ZYN customers that they are in fact the same grape, at times they look at us strange. They say they don't taste any similarity, and nor should they. The grape variety originated in Croatia and migrated to Italy in the 18th century, only arriving to North America in the 19th century. Overtime the grape variety underwent slight character changes in the different countries, resulting in flavour differences due to how the grape matures in different climates and how the wine is made.
Italian Primitivo or California Zinfandel is another question we are asked and it really depends on what you are looking for in a wine.
California producers allow Zinfandel to ripen to higher sugar levels, which spikes the alcohol content and reduce the acidity, creating a wine that is smooth and fruit forward.
The Italians are likely to pick the grapes earlier so there is lower alcohol and lower acidity making a more structured wine.
The science of wine sometimes seems complicated. Ultimately you know what you like in a wine and don't like. ZYN carries a wide range of Zinfandel and Primitivo to please one and all.
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