Zinfandel originated in Croatia where it is called Crljenak Kastelanski (pronounced trill ya knock kahs ta lan ski). Though it is of the European species (vitis vinifera), Zinfandel, called Primitivo in Italy, has come to be known as America’s grape. It is here in the US, especially California, that the grape has been embraced and adopted as our own. Once known mainly as a sweet rosé (white zinfandel), Zin, as she is affectionately called, has earned our respect as a full-bodied, dry red that, though never subtle, is often quite beautiful.
Tim and Lani Holdener operate the Macchia winery out of Lodi. They produce a few different zins including the Mischievous Zinfandel. Ripe and juicy with blackberry and red cherry aromas, loads of spice, cedar and vanilla all harmoniously balanced with a full body, this Zin is a meal. The aromatics are intense and abundant, the finish is long and satisfying.
Tim and Barbara Spencer operate the family winery, St Amant in Lodi where they make an old vine Zin from the Mohr-Fry Ranch vineyard. Some of the vines are over 66 years old. The older the vines the more intensely flavored the fruit. This old vine Zin has ripe and jammy flavors of raspberry and blackberry, meshed with hints of purple flowers, eucalyptus, dried sweet herbs and a bit of mocha on the finish. Layered with intense aromatics in a medium-bodied, there is a lot going on with this Zinfandel.
Zinfandel will never be a wine that will be referred to as ‘cerebral.’ But when done right, as both the Macchia and St. Amant are, Zinfandel is that loud, bold friend we always look forward to seeing.