I suppose to do this right I would have started with Aligoté. Regardless, things come to a end with Zinfandel.
Zinfandel — or just “Zin” — is the quintessential California grape. Yes, I know that genetic studies have shown that it is identical to Italy’s Primativo and is actually a clone of Croatia’s Crljenak. I just don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, Zinfandel comes from California. No one else grows it like we do.
The predominant style of Zinfandel is often aptly described as a “fruit bomb.” The word “jammy” gets used a lot, and not without good reason. Zin thrives in hot climates, like Amador County or near Paso Robles. The weather in those areas leads them to produce big, fruit-driven wines that can’t be mistaken for anything else. Zinfandel is rarely a subtle grape, and to love Zin is to embrace that lack of subtlety.
You might be asking yourself, “What about White Zinfandel?” Remember when I talked about rosés? About how you can make delicious pink wines from red grapes? It’s not one of those. White Zin is — quite frankly — an abomination, and I will not speak further of it here.
Given its already-concentrated fruit flavors, Zinfandel also makes wonderful dessert wines. It’s one of my favorite things to have with a dark, bittersweet chocolate desert.
We don’t drink a lot of Zinfandel, but there’s some in the cellar, including the Foxen 7200 Lockshaw Vineyard Zinfandel (Paso Robles), Sextant Wheelhouse Zinfandel (Paso Robles), Hop Kiln Late Harvest Zinfandel (Russian River Valley), and Santa Barbara Winery Zinfandel Essence (Santa Ynez Valley).
And that’s my varietal tour. What am I going to write about next with regards to wine? I’m not sure. Tune in then to find out.