Zinfandel - the pride of California winemakers
Winemakers are always trying to get a hardy and productive grape variety. The California Zinfandel is just that. The American state kindly calls it Zin for its popularity. It was bred by California breeders from some Croatian varieties and Italian Primitivo. The dark Zinfandel grape accounts for 10% of the state's plantations. It is used to make a red dry drink with an alcohol capacity of up to 15%. Zinfandel wine is produced today in other countries, where it has its own characteristics;
The flavors of Zinfandel wine depend on the grapes and the method of cultivation. In cool regions it smells like raspberries and other purple berries, while in southern climates it has a blackberry and anise tone. The Zinfandel grape was introduced to the United States from European countries in the late 19th century. Over 20 years of cultivation, it became the most popular grape in California. Now the Zinfandel grape is in a modest fourth place. The top four looks like this:
- Cabernet Sauvignon;
- Pinot Noir;
The Zinfandel grape covers 71,000 acres in various regions of the world. About 50,000 grow in California, USA. The rest of the vine is cultivated in Italy, in the Puglia region. Zinfandel grapes are also grown by Croatian, Australian, Chilean, and Canadian winemakers.
Zinfandel grapes are characterized by strong bushes, dense bunches of medium size. Small grapes are round in shape. When ripe, they acquire a dark purple color. Zinfandel grapes are very prolific and without special requirements. The wine from it is full of different flavors. It can be lightly fruity or complex and even dessert-like port. The Zinfandel grape shows itself in blends with other varieties - Shiraz, Alicante Boucher.
In California, Zinfandel is often clarified. For this purpose, the skin of the grapes, which gives a reddish tone, is removed, and the resulting wine of a slightly pink color is called White Zinfandel. It can be coupled with Muscat or Riesling to add sweetness. Its grapes have very thin skins, and its taste is therefore affected by the amount of rain or sun, as well as by the type of vinification.
Producers don't age Zinfandel grapes for very long. Although, some brands produce varietals that "live" up to 30 years without losing their amazing flavor.
In order to sell Zinfandel wine in California, a specialized community of its patrons - ZAP (Zinfandel advocates and producers) - was created. It includes more than 6,000 American buyers and about 300 producer companies. The community researches Zin varieties, tastes wine, and organizes the Zinfandel festival every year.
Most Zin is produced by California winemakers. It is these products that are called a peculiar example of quality. But each sample has its own twist. Much depends on the place of cultivation. The most appreciated wines come from the following Californian regions:
- Canyon Napa. Characterized by the rich flavor of raspberries and the luxurious aroma of berries. Specialists say that the berries ripen here are suitable for the production of uncomplicated Bordeaux-type compounds.
- Sonoma Gorge. The local wines are tart and full-bodied. In the bouquet you can catch slightly captivating notes of pepper. And some varietals are mesmerizing with their light scent of chocolate.
- Zatoka San Francisco. In the local drinks you can feel the nuances of spices and juniper. They have a pronounced taste with a hint of plum.
- Mendocino. Characterized by a rich red tone, and in the taste there are notes of cherry.
Wine is made from ripe and partly unripe berries. Zin vines are not too demanding and do well in warm, but not hot climates. Too high a temperature will cause the berries to dry out. It ripens early and has a lot of sugar, which is why it is often used to make dessert wines.
Traditionally, Zinfandel red wine is made quite strong. But on many websites you can buy variants within 11-12% turnover. Zin production goes through these stages:
- harvesting and processing grapes;
- Two weeks are spent in the maceration process;
- is aged for 1.5 years in French oak wooden containers.
Red Zinfandel is considered a classic of winemaking. In Moscow stores you can buy it at a price of 1,000 rubles. Since the grapes are very sweet, the character of the wine is quite strong. Its taste is not sugary, but sweet. The color can be reddish and sometimes richly cherry. The aroma is dominated by a berry combination, the taste has a fruity texture without tart vibes. More often than not, wine lovers make the purchase of the red version. Its price in Moscow wine shops can go up to 6-8 thousand roubles.
Pink Zinfandel is produced from the same variety, but bleached. Sometimes it is called white. Buying such a product at an affordable price in Moscow and Russia is also not a problem. This is a more popular variant than red. It is more pleasant to drink this variant because of its lower alcohol content;
Buying a sweet wine will make a successful combination with spicy dishes flavored with curry. It is especially suitable for barbecue. The drink is served with both veal and chicken, vegetable appetizers, ham. It is a good addition to ripe and flavorful cheeses like Cheddar or Gouda. Sheep's cheese also opens well.
Vegetable salads are served when you add a generous portion of condiments to them. Zinfandel bouquet can overpower the taste of fruits and vegetables.
The wine is not chilled before serving, it is drunk at room temperature. According to the information, the closed bottle is stored in the winery for 5-10 years, then the taste can deteriorate.
What is Zin appreciated for? It appeals with its brightness and cheerfulness. The wine is full-bodied with berry and gem flavors. Those wishing to try a varietal from very old vineyards can buy a sample from Murrieta's Well line from producer Wente. The brand is named after Joaquin Murrieta, a horse thief. He gave the proceeds for them to poor people. And he gave his horses water from the well, where the famous vineyards grew;
Those who like sweet and strong drinks should try a port made from Zin grapes. It is produced by the Rutherford Hill Company. The price of such a product is much higher than that of an ordinary Portuguese one;
Zinfandel is the only grape variety to which an entire festival is dedicated. The festival takes place every year on the third Wednesday of November.
The price of a 0.75-liter bottle of Zinfandel wine for persons over 18 years old in the network of Russian boutiques starts from 850 rubles. In the charts of some online showcases, the price of Zin brands can go up to 14,000 rubles. It is quite possible to buy a variant at a democratic price;