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Artisan Cheeses By Wine Type: Red Zinfandel

Crljenak. Zinfandel first came to California in the early 1800s.

This grape is now primarily grown in California. Zinfandel grows its best in cool, coastal locations.

The color of a zinfandel wine is deep red, bordering on black. Zinfandel is a spicy, peppery wine, with a hint of fruity flavor - berries or dark cherries are often the taste range. Zinfandel goes well with "typical American" food - pizza, burgers, etc. It's hearty enough to match up with thick red sauces.

Red zinfandel should be served at around 65 degrees, which is NOT room temperature nor fridge temperature. It's somewhere in the middle. It tastes best in a narrow-mouthed glass. Most people like to drink zinfandels young - within a year or two - but there are also quite a few zinfandels that age well. Note that the flavor becomes much different, far more mellow. It's completely up to you if you favor the taste of a young zin over an old!

Note that the red zinfandel grape is also used to make white zinfandel wine. The exact same grape is used in both wines. To make white zinfandel, the winemaker removes the red skins before making the wine. The red skins are what give the robust flavor and color to red zinfandel wine. Without the skins, a white zinfandel ends up being light and sweet.