Welcome to this Week’s Edition of Wine on Wednesday!  

Today’s Wine on Wednesay: Zinfandel

English: Zinfandel grapes ripening on a vine i...
English: Zinfandel grapes ripening on a vine in Amador county, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Wine on Wednesday focuses on Red Zinfandel.  Red Zinfandel (also known as Primitivo) is a wine synonymous with California, because Zinfandel grapes grow best in cool, coastal climates, and because Zinfandel is the most widely planted wine grape in California .  But Zinfandel grapes didn’t originate in California; recent research has uncovered that the Zinfandel grapes actually originated in Croatia.  

Many may be familiar with the very popular White Zinfandel wine,which we’ll talk more about next week.  Red and White Zinfandel comes from the same Zinfandel grapes, but grapes are fermented differently to achieve a red or white varietal of Zinfandel. 

Red Zinfandel is a typically a rich, full bodied wine with a lot of tannins (see Wine on Wednesday: Introduction for definitions of wine terms like full bodied and tannin).  Zinfandel wine has a very dark color, sometimes almost black.  Zinfandel also tends to have a higher alcohol content than other wines because of the hearty Zinfandel grape.  

Spicy and peppery are two words that typically describe Red Zinfandel.  Flavors you will typically find in Zinfandel include raspberry, blackberry, cherry, black pepper,  spice, plum, and black licorice.  Zinfandel also tends to have notes of oak, although there can be variations to this depending on the winemaker.  

Because of it’s rich, spicy flavor, Zinfandel pairs wonderfully with pizza, steaks, burgers and rich, spicy sauces.  Zinfandel is often considered as a wine that goes well with “American Style” foods.  

We’ve learned some of the basics of the Red Zinfandel wine, so is this the wine for you?  If you prefer sweeter, lighter wines, or don’t like wines with a lot of tannin, you may not like Zinfandel. Red Zinfandel is definitely a hearty wine, so if you like rich red wines but might be looking for something a little spicier or bolder than a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, Zinfandel could be a good choice for you.  I would definitely recommend pairing this wine with food if you’re trying it for the first time; a good spicy pizza or Italian red sauce really brings out the flavor of Zinfandel.  


Here are a few of my favorite Zinfandel wines: 

7 Deadly Zins

Earthquake Zinfandel

Bray Vineyards (Primitivo)



Stay tuned for next week’s installment of Wine on Wednesday to learn more about White Zinfandel!




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  1. I tried the red zin for the first time recently and was blown away. Not what I expected at all. LOVED it!

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