Imagine you were adopted. Not only were you adopted but it’s clear you were adopted because you are the only blue skinned person on an island called Kaliphornea, you were adopted from half a world away where the only blue skinned people exist. 200 years later blue skinned people become the norm in Kaliphornea, and most of the blue skinned people from your native land have been killed off to the point of obscurity. History books are written and blue skinned people are said to be native to the island of Kaliphornea because no one can find blue skinned people anywhere else.
One day, maybe around 1994, a bold adventurer named Indiana ventures off to Croatia and finds a small group of blue skins. On his trip home he stops in the heel of Italy only to find more blue skins, the history books have to be re-written!
This is more or less the story of Zinfandel. The grape has long been associated with California but as it turns out is a native of Croatia where it is known as the more easily pronounced Crljenak Kastelanski. Italy too houses the grape, known as Primitivo, that has enjoyed a recent spike in popularity greatly thanks to the efforts of Californian wine makers.
Not what most would consider a ‘Noble Gape’, it did gain its success largely from the efforts of the colonies after all, it is unabashedly delicious despite its less than noble lineage. Aristocracy might not be a ‘thing’ in the New World but Zinfandel definitely is, and with good reason too. Try and pinpoint the flavours of Zinfandel and you may have some trouble, this grape makes wine that runs the gamut, from sweet, pink and fruity to dark, rich and spicy. No matter what part of the gamut it runs it will entice and enchant.*
A true varietal wine that can hide in and amongst great blends. The grape on its own has a unique ability to produce an astounding array of flavours, the one I am currently sipping runs from red fruit to mocha, it’s hard not to love every minutes of it. So as to not be greedy I will share this delectable treat with you…
Wine: Old Vine Zinfandel
Region: Lodi, California (just outside San Fran)
Grape: Zinfandel a.k.a Primitivo a.k.a Crljenak Kastelanski pronounced: difficultly!
Notes: This is a wine that will satisfy alone or with the company of a nice steak. Easy to drink yet full of complexity be careful though with 15% you'll get drunk if you allow the enticing flavours to convince you to have 'one last glass'. Look for Raspberry, Blackberry, Coffee, Pepper, Vanilla and Mocha. Acid, tannin, and intensity are all around the medium range which is what makes this wine so easy to drink. The alcohol does run a little hot but all in all this wine is Very Nice!
*Okay this one might be a hard sell, most who enjoy a white zinfandel, or zinfandel blush probably won't like a red zinfandel and vise versa. This is pure conjecture on my part though, I could be wrong.