Survive Winter Well with Zinfandel
Colder weather is on the way. Something you can do to make the winter more pleasant is enjoy a full bodied, flavorful Zinfandel or Old Vine Zinfandel.
What is Zinfandel?
The Zinfandel grape is believed to come from the Adriatic Sea area of Southern Europe. It moved west to California with the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s and is now widely grown throughout the state. Some of the best loved Zinfandels come from Mendocino County, specifically the Lodi area. In addition you may see the designation "old vine Zinfandel." Generally this means that the grapes come from vines at least 50 to 100 years old. These vines produce fewer grapes, so each grape has a more intense and concentrated flavor. What that means for you when you drink the wine is a richer, more flavorful experience.
How does it taste?
Zinfandel grapes produce a deeply flavored wine, with common tasting notes indicating berries, jam, plum or other fruitiness. This may develop to a spicy or even cigar flavored finish. Zinfandel has body similar to Pinot Noir but has a taste as bold as Cabernet or Shiraz. It is slightly higher in alcohol as well, with most Zins coming in at 14% to 16% alcohol by volume (ABV). Because of its complex yet sweet taste it pairs well with spicy foods such as curry or barbecued meats, and with bold cheeses such as sharp cheddar. It is also a perfect wine to enjoy while watching it snow outside!
Which Zinfandel should I buy?
Some swear by the "old vine" label, and some say that there is not enough taste difference to be that selective. Your best bet is to try both and see for yourself. A good option for the "old vine Zinfandel" is Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel (Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel). Right now you can find a 2015 that will give you a classic taste of the Lodi old vines. Perhaps you could compare that with a Napa Zinfandel, Biale Black Chicken (Biale Black Chicken), noted for its strong fruit forward taste.
Whichever Zinfandel you choose, we think you will enjoy its rich warmth and not mind (as much) the winter weather raging outside.
- Adam Linet