In honor of the upcoming Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival for 2012, I wanted dig up a little dirt on the origin of the beloved California Zinfandel grape. For quite a while, Zinfandel was known as the “mystery grape” of California because no one knew exactly where the grape first began growing. At first, many claims were made that Zinfandel most resembled southern Italy’s primitivo grape. However, careful research has determined that most evidence points to Croatia where it then eventually migrated to various parts of Italy. The actual Zinfandel name is native to America, originating from a Boston nursery owner in 1832.
During the Gold Rush, Zinfandel was introduced to California where magic happened. California’s Mediterranean climate was the perfect match for Zinfandel, and it soon became the third leading wine grape variety in California. In fact, in 2010, 394, 177 tons of Zinfandel grapes were crushed in California!
Zinfandel is often described by blackberry, raspberry, boysenberry, cherry, black pepper, clove, and, anise notes. It is usually grown in hot climate areas of California and known for its higher alcohol levels and tannins (thank gosh we have Wine Wipes for that). Zinfandel tastes vary from region to region, for example, from east Paso to west Paso.
Dishes to pair with Zinfandel: Luckily, Zinfandel pairs well with some of the most delicious foods I can think of. Here are a few of my absolute favorite dishes (that I could eat every day for the rest of my life):
-Italian sausage risotto (Click for Recipe)
-Ciopinno (Click for Recipe)
- Jamon, Queso, and Chorizo (Click for Recipe)
- Pulpo a Feira (Click for Recipe)
- “Duck N’ Shrooms” (Click for Recipe)
And which Zin should you match up with these orgasmic dishes? Here are a few “Thirsty Girl” worthy Zins:
-2007 Brown Estate, Chiles Valley $36.
-2006 Woodenhead Martinelli Road, Russian River Valley $45.
-2007 Saucelito Canyon, San Luis Obispo $18
-2006 Kokomo, Sonoma County $20
-2007 Fontanella, Napa $36
Now no excuses, time to start a Zin-fest in your own kitchen….we know you’re a Thirsty Girl;)