by April Reinhardt
(last updated November 2, 2009)
Zinfandel wine is a red wine, with medium high levels of tannins, high alcohol content, and known for its dark, rich color. It was planted during the gold rush era in California, and is related to the Italian Primitivo grape. Zinfandel has a distinct aroma and flavor, chiefly of black cherry and blackberries. Depending upon how long the grape is left on the vine, the wine will be stronger or lighter. Some flavors of Zinfandel include plum, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, black pepper, raisin, and other spices. Not to be confused with white Zinfandel, true Zinfandel is red or blush wine. While lighter Zinfandels will be fruiter, heartier versions will have a deeper, more flavorful berry jam taste.
Because of its high level of tannins, Zinfandel pairs well with foods of higher protein and fat content, such as red meats, creamy side dishes, and strong cheese. The fat content of such dishes will make the wine softer on the palate and less astringent. If you're looking for some great pairings with Zinfandel, consider these:
If you are planning to serve Zinfandel through to dessert, consider serving a heavy, rich pudding, such as bread-and-butter pudding or rice pudding. Pineapple upside down cake or any type of heavy fruit cake will also serve well with Zinfandel. In fact, any dessert rich with fat content, candied fruits, and several different kinds of nuts will pair well with Zinfandel.
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