Unlike many other reds, Zinfandel is very compatible with food and especially loves the grill. LamorindaWeb serves up some stellar summer combos.
As a proud flag waver for America’s own grape, Zinfandel, Zin epitomizes California. Known as the quintessential California grape variety. Much of the appeal of this American treasure comes from the grapes complexity. At the same time, Zinfandel tends to be very approachable and a shoe in for casual summer gatherings.
Style and Stylish
This uniquely American fine-wine grape has a history of moving in and out of fashion. Classic red Zinfandel has fruit aromas of dark cherries, plums, raspberries and blackberries and can range dramatically in style. These stylistic variations influence how the wine will likely pair with food. The styles you may encounter include:
- Medium-Full Body; expressive fruit with some barrel age; often spicy
- Full Body; ripe, higher alcohol, often more tannic and oaky
- Late Harvest; dessert style, sweet, port-like, high alcohol
All About The Food
Unlike many other reds, Zinfandel is very compatible with food and especially loves the grill. Food pairings that work well include:
- Heartier dishes that have been grilled, braised or smoked
- Many salty dishes as Zin is better than most reds due to its forward, sweet berry fruit
- Fruit based sauces particularly those with berry fruits
- Sharp cheeses like Manchego and washed rind cheeses like Taleggio
A Few Zins To Try
I recently participated in a 2009 Sonoma County Zinfandel tasting (yes, it was fun) and here are my top picks:
- Seghesio Family Vineyards Home Ranch
- JC Cellars St. Peters Church
- Carlisle “Carlisle Vineyard”
- Ridge Vineyard Pagani Ranch
- Ravenswood Sonoma County
A schedule of Wine Appreciation classes taught by Monica Chappell, wine writer and educator, can be found at www.wineappreciation101.blogspot.com.
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