Let’s Learn About Zinfandel!
Zinfandel is a wine truly made famous by California although it has it’s roots in Croatia. Planted in over 10 percent of all Californian vineyards, the Zinfandel grape is an important player in the California red wine industry. The big, ripe red wine that comes from these grapes has some of the highest alcohol content of any red wine on the market (between 14 and 17 percent). Due to the hot sun, California Zinfandel has come to be known for its jammy, fruity characteristics.
How Bold Can You Go?
So how does Zinfandel compare to other common red wine varieties? You can almost always expect it to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. In terms of color and tannins it is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but deeper than a Pinot Noir. Where this wine does not score middle of the road is in alcohol content and acid. Generally speaking, most of these wines have higher alcohol levels ranging from about 14 – 17% alcohol by volume. Higher alcohol adds an oily texture and bigger, bolder body, while the high acidity creates the spicy boldness Zins are known for.
A Zinfandel Style for Everyone.
Zinfandel is produced in a wide array of styles. Basically, you have the lighter, medium bodied styled wines with a focus on red fruits. There are also varieties with more body and concentration that show some jammy qualities, spice and peppery character. From there, you have the bigger, bolder, riper styled wines that usually from old vines that can be incredibly dense and concentrated, or over the top with jammy, pruney qualities that, depending on the style of wine you enjoy, can seem over the top or Port like in style.
Better with Age.
One of the most popular types of Zinfandel is what is known as Old Vine or sometimes Ancient Vine Zin; these are wines that are made from Californian grapes grown on vines that are at least fifty years old. The old vines produce less fruit with more concentrated flavors. So these Zins 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.