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You might think when you hear Zinfandel, to the first time you ever sipped wine. That’s right, the sweet rosé called ‘’White Zinfandel’’ which everybody got started to drink wine.
It’s made from the Zinfandel grape, a red grape planted in mainly California, USA. It originates from Croatia where it’s named Crljenak Kaštelanski. You can also find it in the heel of Italy, Puglia, where it’s named Primitivo.
Zinfandel is a big & bold, full body red wine. It has black fruit flavours combined with dried fruit, liquorice & sweet spice. A well-balanced wine, wherein if produced right, none of the flavours is overpowering, all perfect in balance (you can see I’m a fan).
Although Zinfandels have a lighter colour, think towards a Pinot Noir, the acidity & tannins making it a bold wine. They also have a higher alcohol % than other wines, ranging between 14%-17%. The alcohol adds the oily texture feeling you’re getting when drinking it. Ripe Zinfandel grapes produce wines with a higher alcohol %. The higher the %, the riper the grapes, the richer, bolder & sweeter the wine will taste. If you like spices, like cinnamon, look for Zinfandels that were oak-aged. The oak will give it it’s spiciness. If you fancy lighter version, look for less oak, obviously.
Zinfandel is sometimes blended to make a California red wine blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. In Italy, you can find Primitivo blended with another local Puglia grape called Negroamaro.
Food wise, go hard on spices & herbs: cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, vanilla. Spicier curries will do & the good old BBQ with red meat & game on the grill. To pair with cheese, go for hard & full flavor cheeses.