This piece was inspired by an amusing interchange in the bar last night.
Two ladies were teasing one of my line cooks who was enjoying a glass of white Zinfandel after work. I felt compelled to come to his defence.
And consequently I heard myself giving everyone around the bar an impromptu “Zinfandel lesson.”
Zinfandel up until 1998 was the most widely planted grape variety in California. Zinfandel is a red grape which if you ferment it briefly (2 or 3 days) produces a pink, fruity wine. If the fermentation is short the pigmentation from the skins is minimal and the sugar from the pulp is not totally converted to alcohol. In the past decades Zinfandel vinified to its full potential has become a serious full bodied red –a powerful rival to the grape (Cabernet Sauvignon) that overtook it in overall plantings in the Golden State. Zinfandel is a formidable wine-redolent of blackberries, anise, peppers with a distinctive raisiny finish.
In the late 90’s oenologists at Berkley confirmed what many winemakers had suspected for decades. Zinfandel was actually a clone of a grape variety that originated in “the Boot” of southern Italy (Apulia). Many of California’s pioneering winemakers
(Gallo, Mondavi, Sebastiani for example)
were of Italian descent….so the mystery of how “Primitivo” vine stocks from half way around the world ended up beingrenamed Zinfandel and planted in the rolling hills of California was in fact …
No mystery at all.
We carry Beringer white Zinfandel
An esteemed label and a great product. (So there ladies!)