Zinfandel Wine

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:

  • Cheese and wine pairing. Three or four different varieties of cheese are plenty for a tasting or a cocktail hour. Plan to have enough cheese for two ounces per person. If your cheese tray will be part of your main course, then plan on four total ounces per person. Choose strong cheeses such as aged cheddars, provolone, and Parmesan Reggiano.
  • Appetizer and wine pairing. You can certainly pair several ounces of cheese with your appetizer tray, but since some guests might not be fond of cheese, or may have allergic reactions to cheese, consider serving other appetizers on your tray. Choose rich foods such as chicken liver, pate, barbequed pork, roasted figs, candied pecans and nuts, and any dark, hearty bread.
  • Main course and wine pairing. All hearty and high fat and protein rich foods pair exceptionally well with Zinfandel. Typical "American" fair such as pizza, steak, ribs, hamburgers, meatloaf, stew, potatoes of any kind, roasted beef, turkey, or chicken, and anything grilled all go well with Zinfandel.

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.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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