Zinfandel (also known as Primitivo) is a red wine that’s made famous by California. It’s a big player in the United States red wine industry, creating a ripe red wine with jammy, fruity characteristics and one of the highest alcohol content of 14-17% (but can also be as low as 9-10%).
It’s just begging to be opened at a BBQ or some other social event. Did you know that Zinfandel is the only grape across the globe with a festival dedicated to it? It’s called ZAP Zinfandel Festival!
It started to be planted widely throughout the state in the late 1800s. The origins of the grapes were unknown, so everyone simply assumed it was native to the US. The grapevines prospered in the hot Californian climate, so many believed Zinfandel had been there all along.
Only in the 1960s, a professor from UC Davis noticed similarities between Zinfandel and Primitivo when travelling around Italy - which led to people questioning the grape origins once again.
Soon enough, it’s been concluded that Primitivo was connected to California Zinfandel, and that’s how the story ended. Well, until a few scientists discovered that the grape doesn’t actually have any ties to the iconic wine regions of France, Italy, and Spain. Instead, it was born in the last place many would think of - Croatia.
There are multiple kinds of Zinfandel grapevines in California. Generally, the older the vines, the better the grapes. For instance, the vines that are at least 50 years old produce grapes that are greater in size, flavor, and intensity than their younger counterparts. They are considered to create a “better,” more premium version of the wine, so the price tag is a notch higher.
Zinfandel is lighter than both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Actually, it resembles another light-bodied wine - Pinot Noir. However, unlike Pinot Noir, Zyn’s high tannin and considerable acidity make it taste bold. Higher alcohol of the wine, 14-17% ABV, adds a bigger, bolder body and an oily texture.
Since Zin leans on the sweeter side of the red wine spectrum, it’s an excellent idea to pair it with something spicy, like pork with curry sauce, Manchego cheese, spiced apples, and so on.
If you’d like to try the wine, buy Zinfandel (or Primitivo) in our store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or online!