Cheers to National Zinfandel Day! We absolutely love a good Zinfandel. But, really—who doesn’t? It’s an easy varietal to love because of its jammy black fruit flavors and versatile food pairing profile. Here are more fun facts about Zinfandel in honor of its special day, which always falls on the third Wednesday in November!
Zinfandel has enjoyed prestige as California’s noble grape; its dense blackberry fruit is emblematic of the state’s sunny climate. However, new DNA tests reveal that it’s identical to Southern Italy’s Primitivo grape and closely related to Croatia’s Plavac Mali grape, according to our wine experts here at Traveling Vineyard.
Zinfandel is the grape from which California’s sweet White Zinfandel is also made, but the two are quite different! Missa Capozzo, our Director of Sommology explains that “White Zinfandel is a rosé style, resulting in unfermented sugars and a sweeter, blush-colored wine (skins are removed early in the process). Zinfandel is fermented to dryness with the skins in contact throughout the entire maceration and/or fermentation time, resulting in the extraction of skin pigment.” For more information on how wine gets its color, tap here.
Typically, Zinfandel produces a deeply pigmented, full-bodied, high-alcohol red wine. According to our wine maker, Francis Sanders, our Small Hours Zinfandel is 90% Zinfandel and presents a nice translucent brick hue. Here’s a snippet from our wine note for Small Hours:
The fruit for this wine comes from vineyards in the heart of the warm and sunny Lodi Appellation, which enjoys a distinctly Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool nights for moderating ripeness and sugar in the grapes. Most of Lodi’s rainfall is in the winter and the abundant sandy soils along the Mokelumne River constitute prime land for Old Vine Zinfandels. All fruit for this wine was made with commitment to the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Wine growing, an impressive set of regulations designed to promote healthy, sustainable agriculture in the region.
Small Hours pays homage to Zinfandel’s European cousins by exhibiting both California’s rich fruity potential and Europe’s elegant, Bordeaux-influenced style. Indeed, when made with an eye towards balance and elegance, Zinfandel can be an amazing wine. To quote legendary California enology professor, Dr. Marian Baldy, “Good red Zinfandels are a bargain.”
We love pairing our Small Hours Zinfandel with anything dark chocolate, but especially a decadent dark chocolate raspberry dessert. Zinfandel is a perfect partner for burgers and steak, and even meatballs in tomato sauce.
Schedule your own in-home wine tasting to sample our Zinfandel for yourself, and get to know more about this delightful varietal!