Regarded as native to California, Zinfandel was originally introduced amongst unidentified European cuttings. Its true identity has yet to be confirmed; Plavac from Croatia perhaps or Zierfandler from Austria are claimed as source material. But Primitivo from southern Italy is possibly Zinfandel’s closest relative.
Zinfandel is ideally suited to warmer viticultural regions of California and the odd planting in Chile and Australia. It is admired for its rich, concentrated red fruit character and gentle, unobtrusive tannins. Sometimes the high natural grape sugars can lead to high alcohol levels and a spirity character.
The commercial, usually off dry, White Zinfandel is a pink wine made to offer simple, easy drinking. Alexander Valley’s ‘Sin Zin’ is altogether a more demanding red wine with hallmark flavours of blackberry, raspberry and spice.
Ridge Vineyards have championed serious California Zinfandel sourced from low yielding old vineyards and made with the structure and complexity of fine Bordeaux.