Pronounced zin-fan-dell. A grape varietal used in the production of red and rosé (referred to as "white zinfandel") wine. Although considered to be a Californian varietal, it has been proven that the Zinfandel is actually the Primitivo grape varietal of Italy’s Puglia region. In modern day, the heaviest plantings are in the United States, primarily California. Limited plantings are located in South Africa and Australia. As well as being vinified as a 100% varietal, the varietal is also blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sarah. A small quantity of Italian growers are labeling Primitivo varietals as Zinfandel and are selling those labels in the United States. Zinfandel varietal is also used in the production of White Zinfandel wine and is used as a base for some sparkling wines.
Characteristics: Zinfandel is always structured but can vary from dry to sweet and from a light to a heavier full bodied red. The wine tends to exhibit a dark purple hue with hints of strawberry, plumb, raisin, spice, leather, and tar.
Ageing: Can be consumed young but heavier Zinfandel is age worthy.
Food pairing: Food friendly, white meat, game, pizza, spicey dishes, Chinese cuisine, and Thai cuisine.