Known for their bold flavors and rich history, red Zinfandel has been a beloved favorite for centuries. The grape and wine evolved from the Croatian grape variety, Crljenak, and was brought to the United States during the 1800s.
The wines tend to have a high alcohol content due to the abundant sugar content and are fruity and dry with moderate tannin levels.
Flavor Profiles and Regional Variations
Depending on the terroir and regional variations, the flavor of red Zinfandel can vary. The methods winemakers use, the diversity of the grapes, and the regions where they are grown, Zinfandels can vary from luscious berry notes to a spicier and peppery flavor.
Some winemakers work with grapes left on the vines longer, yielding different ripeness and tannin structures. Cooler regions also tend to produce grapes that are higher in acidity and red fruit notes, while other areas yield riper, jammy flavors.
California’s Red Zinfandel Heartland
While these grapes are grown in most regions of California, Amador, San Joaquin, and Sonoma Counties are specially recognized for their excellent red Zinfandels. The regions tend to have higher elevations and cooler climates while presenting the right growing conditions for better-tasting wines.
The higher elevations tend to produce grapes that will yield more savory intensity and richness in the wines.
Pairing Red Zinfandels
The strength of flavor of the Zinfandel calls for sharing the wine with equally strong-tasting foods. Grilled meats, spicy dishes, and hearty stews pair best with the robust, spicy nature of the red Zinfandel.
When entertaining guests and creating a memorable dining experience, consider making red Zinfandel your centerpiece, pairing best with food of an equally strong flavor. Your guest will be impressed.
Tasting Red Zinfandels
It is always good to find red Zinfandel from grapes grown at higher altitudes and shares a spicy, flavorful aroma and palate. When tasting the wine, focus first on the appearance to identify the strong red color. Swirl the glass and smell the rich notes that appear.
Taste the wine, allowing it to touch all parts of the mouth to determine the strength of flavor demonstrated as tartness, sweetness, and bitterness of the wine.
If all goes well, plan to serve this wine to your guests with your delicious dinner.
Reserve Your Place for a Scott Harvey Wine Tasting
Next time you are in or near Amador County, California, stop by for a Scott Harvey Wine Tasting. The winery uses three different venues for wine tastings: Shenandoah Winery and Tasting Room, Sutter Creek Tasting Room, and the Old Sugar Mill in Sacramento Delta.
Scott Harvey Wines produces some of the best red Zinfandels due to the location of some of the vineyards in the rolling hills that lead to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
You can reserve your place for a wine tasting by visiting the Scott Harvey Wines website. Or you can phone for reservations at 209-245-3670.