Is Zinfandel the great American red? Valued there as ‘everyman’s claret’, Zinfandel might lack the nobility of Cabernet Sauvignon (a Californian stablemate) but is very, very easy to love. As an early ripener it can make full-bodied, rich reds and blends en masse (which if done badly could explain its once-poor reputation). But more boutique, low-cropped examples benefit from proper tannin structure and uniquely mouth-filling, chocolatey dark fruits - which in some heavily ripe wines reach a prune-like or port-like flavour profile. 'White Zinfandel' is simply the rosé or blush form. Sadly for proud Californians, Zinfandel’s origins and landfall in the region are still mysterious, but definitely not local - it was recently revealed as genetically identical to Primitivo from Italy/Croatia.
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