Zinfandel is pretty much a wine for all seasons.
The versatile varietal produces several very different kinds of wine. Best known is probably white Zinfandel, a light, fruity blush wine with a low alcohol content and about 1.5 percent residual sugar. Red Zinfandel wine runs the gamut in body, with some as light and drinkable as a Beaujolais, and others as tannic and full-bodied as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Sometimes late-picked grapes full of concentrated sugar are made into luscious (almost syrupy) “late-harvest Zinfandels,” which are served in place of dessert wines like sherry or port. “Old Vines” Zinfandels (wine made from grapevines that are many decades old) are fairly common in California, where they offer a cost-effective alternative to high-priced California Cabernet Sauvignon wines and are complex wines full of jammy flavors.
An American-born wine, Zinfandel is made from the red-wine Zinfandel grape, which first appeared in California in the middle of the last century. Although the varietal flourished in California’s wine country, it is not native. Most experts now believe the vine (which was known in California as early as 1862) immigrated from the Dalmation Coast of the former Yugoslavia.
Zinfandel has been the number one red grape in the United States in terms of both acreage planted and volume of wine produced since the 19th century.
Zinfandel’s typical character is berry-like, with blackberry or raspberry and just a hint of spiciness. Zinfandel reds are berry-like, medium-bodied with moderate tannins and a tart finish.
Zinfandel reds have a rich, deep color, while white Zinfandel can range from pale pink to a warm rose. (In general, the deeper the color in white Zinfandel, the better the wine.)
White Zinfandel is a good match for turkey and any other fare where a blush wine is appropriate. A good bottle of white Zinfandel is extremely affordable. Zinfandel red is a good match for spicy dishes and red meat. Expect to pay around $20 a bottle for a good Zinfandel, $50 and up for a great bottle.
We believe that you should pair whatever taste good to you but the following are suggested pairings with Zinfandel. Remember…”buy on bread sell on cheese.”
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