Australian Zinfandel wine regional and flavour profile
RED | FULL BODIED
Tastes and aromas
Flavours of raspberry, spice, pepper, chocolate, cranberry, black berry and cherry, with hints of bay leaves, sweet thyme, basil and spice.
Full bodied, firm tannins, high alcohol (usually at least 14%)
Drink Now or Later?
As Zinfandel is a versatile grape variety, it can be made into either sweet or heavy wines. Sweeter zinfandels are best drunk young, as they do not have the structure for long-term ageing. On the other hand, Zinfandel with firm tannins, a fuller body and higher acidity can age for a number of years. Generally, the sweeter wines are the cheaper pricepoints, whereas the wines suitable for ageing are more expensive.
- Due to their high alcohol, Zinfandel wines can have a hot mouthfeel, and this heat is accentuated by the spicy nature of the varietal.
- Styles can range from sweet and fruity to the dry and savoury even among the most expensive wines.
Over 70 wineries in Australia are producing wine from Zinfandel grapes, with warmer regions such as the Riverina, Barossa Valley, Mudgee and McLaren Vale having the most success. However there are now smaller producers making a lighter and spicier wines.
Internationally, Zinfandel has always been referred to as California’s native grape, however it was actually brought to California during the gold rush, and probably came from the East Coast, via imports from Europe. It is directly related to Italy’s Primitivo grape and probably a descendant of a Croatian variety known as Crljenak Kastelanski. DNA evidence is now supporting this theory.
Zinfandel’s heat and heaviness makes the wine a perfect accompaniment to Italian, Mexican, and Spanish cuisines. It also pairs well with cheeses such as asiago, goats cheese, gouda, gruyere, and muenster.