Zinfandel Guide


Zinfandel is the typical Californian red variety. Although from Europa, it is seen as the local grape in the American wine region.

Zinfandel is genetically identical to the South Italian red grape Primitivo and the Croatian variety Crljenak Kaštelanski. During the 1980's, it has been incredibly fashionable thanks to the success of «Zinfandel blush», a specific fruity off-dry white wine with a distinctive pale rose color and a low level of alcohol.

Zinfandel must be harvested when the grapes are fully ripped otherwise the wines have nasty flavors of green grapefruit or overcooked fruits. However, the variety ripens irregularly making more difficult the winemakers' works. It blossoms well on the vineyards that enjoy a high diurnal temperature variation. In fact, the variety develop its best characteristic under the warm dry Californian climate and the region's drained low-fertile soils.

Zinfandel caracteristics

Zinfandel produces light rosés and strong red wines with rich juicy flavors and round tannins. The classic red wine is full-bodied with a high alcohol level. The best wines have a great ageing potential. 

The wines are generally matured in barrels of American oak. The maturation process gives them integrated vanilla notes.

The variety does not have distinctive flavors but the red wines can develop all the typical aromas: the spicy notes of pepper, cinnamon or oregano, the floral fragrance of violet and rose, the bright fruity aromas of strawberry, raspberry, cherry, blackcurrant, plum, prune or dried grape.

The young wine has elegant tannins, which combined well with the powerful flavors of raspberry and blackberry. The best specimens reveal complex fruity aromas and a refreshing acidity.

Where to find the best Zinfandels

California is the great wine region of Zinfandel. It is the most common grape variety in the state with a high number of old vineyards planted by the Italian immigrants.