Zinfandel is one of the classic wines of California, where it has been popular since Gold Rush days. The red Zinfandel grape thrives in warm climate regions, most notably portions of the Central and Sonoma valleys. When fully ripe, Zinfandel grapes contain high amounts of sugar, which can be completely fermented to create a dry and fairly high-alcohol wine, or be left in part as a trace of residual sweetness.
Zinfandel wine made in the traditional fashion may be unoaked, easy-drinking and jammy, or oak-aged and full bodied. Old-vine versions can be particularly intense and rich. Expect flavors of black fruits and spice in all. The full flavors and bit of sweetness make Zinfandel a great match for grilled and barbecued meats, especially those cooked in sweet or tomato-based sauces.