Zinfandel originated in Croatia
and made its way to Italy
in the 18th century, where the varietal is called Primitivo. While the
delicious red Zinfandel wine is very popular now, it wasn't always that way. In
fact, the only reason we can enjoy the red wines from the old Zinfandel vines
is because of a mistake. That "mistake" is called White Zinfandel.
Sutter Home was producing a premium Zinfandel red wine and by-product of that process created a truly white, not blush, Zinfandel. This white Zinfandel was dry and nothing like White Zinfandel of today. In the 70's, a batch of white Zin experienced "stuck fermentation" - where the yeast dies out before all the sugar can be consumed. Sutter Home set that juice aside until the bottling of the red was complete. Winemakers tasted this sweet, blush wine and preferred it to the dry white wine they had been producing. Thus, a new wine was born.
Today, White Zinfandel is the 3rd most popular varietal in the US. It outsells the classic red Zinfandel by 6 to 1. Red Zinfandel fell out of favor in the 80's but White Zinfandel's popularity kept those old vines in the ground. Those of us who love red Zinfandel wines should be thankful for the popularity of White Zinfandel. Without it, the old Zinfandel vines would have been ripped up and other grape varietals would have gone in their place.
These old vines produce red wines of considerable heft. Typical flavors are cherry, blackberry, oak, smoke, chocolate, tobacco and earth. They are medium to full bodied wines and the best are known for their ample tannins.
Here are a few of our staff favorites:
Temptation Zinfandel Alexander Valley raspberry, strawberry, ripe jammy flavors, spice, vanilla and black pepper.
Bogle Phantom rich, dense, chewy, blackberry, spice and a finish that packs a wallop.
Cigar Zin rich, lush, hearty and jammy
Peter Fraunus Zinfandel heady, luscious, blueberries and forest floor. Rated 92 by Wine & Spirits.
What to learn more about wine, beer and spirits? Sign up for our newsletter http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=0013sRecspOXTx9c4oUZDHsYwDcUGfu4cFBJcResu68...