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Posts Tagged ‘Zinfandel’

Zinfandel – The California Immigrant

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Zinfandel – Deep Roots, Old Vines

Old Vine Zinfandel

Some Old Vines Date Back pre-1880s

Do you drink Zinfandel? I’m referring to the red wine not the white. Please don’t get me started talking about that white crap.

The “real” Zinfandel is a wonderful, medium-to-full-bodied wine. It ranges from raspberry and mocha to spicy and luscious, black fruit. This grape variety has become synonymous with California. Zinfandel is the third-leading wine produced in California.

Frequently, you’ll see Zinfandel labeled as “old vine”.  Some of the oldest vines are located in Amador County and Sonoma.  Lodi has vines that date back pre-1880’s. There is no legal definition on what constitutes “old”.  However, vintners have come to an unofficial definition of ‘vines that are older than 50 years’.

Lodi producers are responsible for more than 40% of all California Zinfandel.  But the variety, also does quite well in Sonoma, Napa Valley and Paso Robles.

Croatia is the Ancestral Home of Zinfandel

Croatia is the Ancestral Home of Zinfandel

Although Zinfandel thrives in California, it is not native to the region. There may be some debate about the ancestral home of the Zinfandel grape, but the name is all-American. Through DNA testing, historians have determined, with a high degree of certainty that Zinfandel immigrated here from Croatia. However, there it is referred to as Crljenak Kastelanski. If you see a wine bottle labeled as Primitivo, it’s the same variety but it hails from Italy.

Here are a few top Zinfandel producers:

Robert Biale Vineyards – Typically makes big, red fruit wine with a burst of cherry jam. Although the wines have high-alcohol levels, the finish lacks that awful burn. $50

Bogle Winery – Old Vine Zinfandel-This inexpensive wine will become a staple in your household. It packs a bold, raspberry fruit flavor and a balanced punch of spice. The $10 price makes it perfect for easy, summertime barbeques.

Cline Cellars –Makes several Zinfandel wines including their Big Break Zin.  With a $32 price point, it’s worthy as a special-occasion bottle or a weekend dinner with friends.  Nearby San Pablo Bay cools the grapes, locking in the juice and sugars.

Cline Tasting Room

Cline Cellars’ Tasting Room

So when you are drinking your next glass of Zinfandel, maybe you’ll think back to the growers and pickers of yesteryear.  They helped make this wine and those vines some darn good juice that just screams California.


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2005 Deepwood Cellars Zinfandel, Estate Bottled – Central Coast, California

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Deepwood Cellars ZinfandelRecently, I decanted a bottle of a Deepwood Cellars fruity California Zinfandel for our Sunday dinner.  There was a tiny bit of sediment at the end of the bottle; but for the most part, the wine was still intact.  I examined the color and it appeared to be a bit more brickish red than a few years earlier but that’s to be expected from an aged red.  Now, I was ready to try my first sip.

The vibrant, juicy red-fruit flavor I had loved about this big Zin just wasn’t coming through. I didn’t want to panic, at least not yet so I allowed it to rest another couple of minutes in my glass.  There’s such a fine line between allowing an aged wine to breathe and allowing it to further decline due to oxidation. But, after another disappointing taste, I came to the awful conclusion that this wine was not as age worthy as I thought.  It was past its prime.  I was crushed. Read More >

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Great Wine Bargains at Trader Joe’s

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RCTJWF 2008 Zinfandel Paso Robles

R.C.T.J.W.F 2008 Zinfandel Paso Robles

Trader Joe’s Wines Rocks

I had just returned from a four-day trip to the San Antonio Wine & Food Festival where I sampled nearly 100 great and not-so-great wines.  When I got home, Stephanie had a new bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s for us to try. I reached for the bottle.  The label read RCTJWF Zinfandel Paso Robles California and I was more than curious.

I’m never one to turn down wine, and am hard pressed to find a bad Paso wine, so out comes the corkscrew.  I poured and swirled then sniffed.  Uh oh. Not much of an aroma for a Zin was my initial reaction. But that first sip. Wow! Outrageously fruit forward, with it’s jammy goodness just bursting in my mouth.

I turned the bottle around and read in fine print “Really Cool Trader Joe’s Wine Find”.  Never have truer words been written. Steph informs me that this find was only $5.00 and I immediately begin thinking how I’m going to plan my day tomorrow so I can swing by TJ’s and pick up a case. Who doesn’t love uncovering wine bargains?

We drink the remainder with grilled pork chops, baked beans and grilled corn on the cob with lime butter and chili seasoning.   The spiciness from the barbecue sauce paired nicely with the fruitiness of the Zin.  Need-less-to-say the night was a success. Read More >

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