The sweetish pink wine called White Zinfandel will soon be doing the rounds at summer parties, so let’s gets the facts straight about Zinfandel. It’s a red grape and its purpose in life is the be a red wine, not some frivolous candy sweet pinko.
The Italian immigrant farmers that lugged this grape the whole way to California would not be too happy to see it commercialized into pop wine. And if all this wasn’t distressing enough, Zinfandel is not even the wine’s proper name – it’s Primitivo. But those Italian immigrants had more pressing things on their minds than remembering the name of the grape vines hidden in their luggage. Someone in California – no one knows who – came up with the Zinfandel name.
What we do know is that Zinfandel is a fantastic red for the beefy BBQ season coming up. It feels somewhat like Merlot but is wilder and livelier. It can be a little rustic too.
Fetzer’s Zin is all of the above, and there’s no mistaking its Italian heritage. Lots of spunk and vigour here – get some food on the table, and open another bottle.
Ravenswood is more Californian – or Latino. The flavours radiate like a brilliant sunset, but it’s not heavy or dense. This guy’s more into play and charm, and just wants to have fun. Equally at home with red or white meat.
I was going to recommend an excellent Primitivo wine from the heel of Italy but the LCBO just delisted it. Rats. But at least you know it’s the original Zin.
FETZER 07 Zinfandel ‘Valley Oaks’, California 234617 $14.95
RAVENSWOOD 07 Zinfandel ‘Vintners Blend’, California 359257 $17.95 (Vintages section, continuously available)