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Wine Spectator School


Class 4: Major Regional Varieties


DISTINCTIVELY SPAIN AND CALIFORNIA

 

 
Zinfandel

 
ORIGINS OF ZINFANDEL

Zinfandel is the most widely planted red variety in California, but the majority of the grapes go into white Zinfandel, the easy-drinking blush wine. This discussion will focus on the true expression of the variety, red Zinfandel.

A variety of Vitis vinifera that arrived on the West Coast in the early 1800s, Zinfandel is thoroughly associated with California.

An adaptable vine that produces high yields, it is grown all over California but does best in a cool, dry climate.

Like Merlot, Zinfandel can ripen unevenly, with a few green grapes on an otherwise ripe bunch that can add some vegetal flavors to the wine. But if they get too ripe, the grapes have a tendency to shrivel...

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