A bit of the wonderful California Zinfandel varieties

The California Zinfandel has the appearance of being a wine that is heavy and full of drying tannins.

~By Andrea Pollock

The California Zinfandel has the appearance of being a wine that is heavy and full of drying tannins.

When the typical Zin is anything but. The rich red colour of the wine with purple hues often leads to an opaque look in the glass (meaning that you are unable to see your fingers on the other side of the glass). The rich colour is deceiving because it hints that the wine will be strong, heavy and dry. What you do get with lots of California Zinfandels are very friendly and jammy reds that often seem sweet to start and leave a clean finish in your mouth that doesn’t leave you


It’s a wonderful wine for a novice red wine drinker or anyone who favours sweeter reds. The jammy fruit that is typical in a Zinfandels profile makes it really approachable. It’s a great red wine to have in the absence of food because it is so gentle to the palate. For the same reason, this varietal is a perfect red wine for beginners who will likely enjoy more fruit and less dryness when first being introduced to reds.

Here’s a few interesting factoids about that wonderful grape the Zinfandel. In California, Zinfandel is the fourth most widely planted grape as is considered by many to be California’s red. When Zinfandel grapes grow on the vine the berries are small and cluster together very tightly – often they ripen unevenly and growers will leave them on the vine until very late in the season – giving them a high sugar content and the chance to develop those big berry profile flavours. Zinfandels are wines that can age, but the big fruit flavours do fade over time, so it is a good idea to enjoy most Zinfandels within 3 years of their vintage date.

Wines of the week

Brazin (B) Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel 2006 – [California]

The nose sneaks up on you, a bit of peppermint, a bit of spearmint, a cheeky combination of red fruits and earth. The palate shines on this wine, a sweet jammy sip reveals juicy plums, raspberry and a dry smoked oak finish. Truly a remarkable wine; I also like the bottle styling and believe this wine will appreciate nicely as a cellaring candidate. 83/100

Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2007 – [California]

Cloves, licorice and even a little blood (don’t worry, not as scary as it sounds). There is some nice jammy flavours that have a peppery heat on the finish. Could pair nicely with a peppercorn cream sauce. 80/100