A Guide to Zinfandel Wine Tasting
Zinfandel has a somewhat funny history. It’s always been thought that that the grape comes from southern Italy as well as the Primitivo grape. However is 2001 after many years of research using DNA profiling, it was found that the grape is identical to Crljenak which is a grape from Croatia. It’s even thought that with some more research the first plants may have originated from either Greece or Albania.
Of course, Zinfandel grapes are very much associated with the West Coast of the USA and ended up there in the mid-19th century at the same time as the Gold Rush. Despite Prohibition in America, Zinfandel continued production by being named sacramental wine.
Zinfandel is a very popular wine and as a result is widely grown, it’s full of flavour and character plus it’s also very reasonably priced so you can afford to drink it everyday. However for some reason it’s not so popular with wine snobs who prefer other wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Oh well, their loss is our gain!
Although it’s a very popular wine today, it was thought that many wine growers were going to get rid of the Zinfandel plants because they had lost popularity. Luckily it regained popularity in the mid-80s and as a result, over the next 10 years, Zinfandel vines doubled.
California seems to be the perfect place for Zinfandel to grow as it enjoys both hot days and cooler nights. The vines also can be grown in a variety of soil conditions and can even produce a second crop. Unfortunately it does tend to ripen unevenly which means the grapes are often either unripe or have started to turn into raisins.
Although Zinfandel is an iconic wine in California, it’s also recently been grown in Texas by Mr. Poulos of Zin Valle Vineyards in August 2000 when 850 plants were bought and planted. Mr. Poulos wanted to prove that Texas can produce perfectly good wines too and the project has proven such as success that another vineyard was started in 2003.
When the wine has been made, it’s often allowed to mature in American oak which adds to the flavour. It’s an exciting grape which can produce many tastes including fresh, zingy, sweet, light and robust. The best quality wines can even be laid down but they do take on a more mellow flavour which may or many not be to your taste.