Why Foodies Love Zinfandel

Why Foodies Love Zinfandel

It’s grape exploration time!

Zin is cult like and grows so well in CA wine country it’s the 3rd most planted varietal and it is referred to as a niche wine. We’re celebrating Zinfandel, one of the friendliest pairing wines around with it’s big bold taste and jammy nuances. Today you will learn background on the grape / vine itself, what kinds of food it pairs with and why foodies love it so much. It such an amazing grape it even has it’s own festival named after it in San Francisco every February.

Lauded as the most American of grapes (maybe because it’s the only important variety we didn’t get from the French), Zinfandel has been grown in this country, primarily in California, for almost 200 years. Grape historians date its arrival to the 1820s, when it was brought from Austria first to Long Island and later to California.

“I like to drink young wines, wines which are robust and have a lot of forward fruit to them.” – Thomas Keller, Founder of the French Laundry in Napa (known to favor Zinfandel over other wines)

Zinfandel Fun Facts:

  • The primary flavors are jam, blueberry, black pepper, cherry, plum, boysenberry, cranberry, and licorice.
  • The taste often explodes with candied fruitiness followed by spice and often a tobacco-like smoky finish.
  • The color is deep red, bordering on black.
  • Goes well with “typical American” food – pizza, burgers, and steaks.
    • It’s hearty enough to match up with thick red sauces.
  • Zinfandel is a wine truly made famous by California.
    • Planted in over 10 percent of all Californian vineyards, the Zinfandel grape is an important player in the California red wine industry, creating a big, ripe red wine that comes with some of the highest alcohol content of any red wine on the market (between 14 and 17 percent).
  • Due to the hot sun of California, Zinfandels have come to be known for their jammy, fruity characteristics.
  • One of the most popular types of Zinfandel is what is known as Old Vine Zin;
    • These are made from Californian grapes grown on vines that are at least fifty years old.
    • These are known to be even bigger in flavor and intensity than their younger counterparts and are considered to create a more premium version of the wine, therefore Old Vine Zinfandel commands a higher price.

Word of show is ZINFANDEL.

Debra and Kelly

In Debra’s Glass:

Oakridge Winery * 2013 OZV
Twitter: @OakRidgeWinery

Raspberry jammy, cocoa-mocha and a sassy spice with soft tannins.

Pair it with a lamb burger with garlic aioli. (PIN RECIPE)

In Kelly’s Glass:

Cigar Zin *  2011

A black fruit and exotics delight, it has notes of blackberries & blueberries with spicy pepper on the nose. Complex and balanced it will stand up to a wide range of dishes. 

Pair this with an Alsace onion tart. (PIN RECIPE)

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The Founders and Your Hosts:

Kelly Mitchell * @KellyMitchell
Founder, WomenOnWine.TV
Founder, TheWineSiren.Com

Debra Trappen * @debra11
Founder, WomenOnWine.TV
Soul Tank Specialist * Author * Speaker at d11 consulting