Wine Basics — Grape Varietals 101: Zinfandel (aka: Primitivo)
An introductory guide to Zinfandel wine. Everything you need to know about the grape variety including flavour, food pairings, growing regions — and how to pronounce this juicy varietal.
By Julia Woods on Aug. 28, 2015
Overview of the Zinfandel wine varietal
(Not to be confused with the wine style “White Zinfandel.” )
This red wine is dark fruit driven with lots of body and high alcohol, but velvety smooth tannins.
Why we like the Zinfandel varietal, grape and wine
- You get a big, rich wine without the grippy tannins.
- It’s jammy, so basically it’s like breakfast.
- It’s boozy, often around 15%+ abv
How to pronounce Zinfandel:
Flavours and aromas of Zinfandel wines
- Fruit: strawberry, red and black raspberry, cherry, bramble, jammy
- Herbal: cinnamon, white pepper, sage
- Oak: vanilla, caramel, baking spice
- Other: rootbeer, cola, tobacco, leather
Foods that go well with Zinfandel wine – varietal pairings
- Barbecue (BBQ) sauce
- Grilled meat (esp smothered in BBQ sauce!)
- Burgers (with bacon)
- Meat Loaf
- Grilled mushrooms (especially on a burger)
Where are Zinfandel / Primitivo grapes grown?
Old World Zinfandel Regions
- Italy (called Primitivo)
- Croatia (called Tribidrag)
New World Zinfandel Regions
- California, USA
Interesting facts about Zinfandel wine
Most people recognize Zinfandel by the California style of wine called “White Zinfandel.” Why? Because the vast majority (over 80%) of Zinfandel grapes in the USA is used to make this sugary blush wine.
Other names for the Zinfandel varietal include
Primitivo (Italy), Tribidrag (Croatia)
Our favourite finds for Zinfandel / Primitivo wine
Dig Deeper: Learn More About Old World vs New World Wines
Like Zinfandel? Try A Similar Grape Variety: Barbera
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