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While Zinfandel’s origins stretch all the way to Croatia (with a stop in Southern Italy), the grape also has deep roots in California. It was originally brought to the state in the mid-1800s and by the turn of the century, it became one of the most widely planted red grapes for wine production.
Today, the grape finds its home across the state, from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino on the North Coast, to the more inland reaches of Lodi and the Sierra Foothills, and even stretching down to Paso Robles in the Central Coast and select spots in the South Coast.
Offering an array of styles, from jammy and fruity to spicy and earthy, there’s a Zinfandel for every palate.
Here are 15 Zinfandels to explore from across the Golden State.
Bogle 2019 Old Vine Zinfandel (California); $11. Buy on Vivino. Mint and cedar aromas give way to lively berry flavors and a good structure of moderate tannins and a full body… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Castoro Cellars 2020 Zinfandel (Paso Robles); $20. Buy on Wine.com. Roasted red-plum, fig-jam and black-pepper aromas show on the classical nose of this reliable bottling… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Dry Creek Vineyard 2019 Old Vine Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley); $38. Buy on Vivino. With 19% Petite Sirah and 3% Carignan, this old-vine red shows a wealth of baked fruit, brick, oak and leather characteristics… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Klinker Brick 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi); $19. Buy on Vivino. Liberally spiced with oak, this full-bodied wine has equally rich fruit flavors that don’t get overwhelmed… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
McManis 2020 Estate Grown Certified Sustainable Zinfandel (Lodi); $12. Find on Wine-Searcher. This full-flavored and appetizingly tannic wine offers generous toasted oak and grilled meat aromas… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Midnight 2018 Estate Zinfandel (Paso Robles Willow Creek District); $44. Find on Wine-Searcher. This is a bruiser of a Zinfandel, but it fires on so many cylinders beyond the heft… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Omen 2019 Origins Zinfandel (Sierra Foothills); $16. Find on Wine-Searcher. This medium-bodied, ultrasmooth wine is rich and relaxed, offering superripe cherries and roasted plums… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
OZV 2020 Old Vine Estate Grown Zinfandel (Lodi); $15. Buy on Total Wine & More. An earthy, doughy aroma shows how fresh this wine is, before revealing layered, indulgent flavors of raspberry syrup, blackberry jam and dark chocolate… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Ridge 2019 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley); $40. Buy on Vivino. Aromas of wild sage and sunbaked earth lead to a smooth, supple texture and abundant ripe berry flavors in this full-bodied, well-balanced wine… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Robert Biale 2019 Black Chicken Zinfandel (Napa Valley); $50. Buy on Vivino. This is a tremendously delicious vintage of this wine, made from estate sites within the Oak Knoll District… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Rombauer 2019 Twin Rivers Zinfandel (El Dorado); $42. Buy on Vivino. Ultrasmooth in texture and impressively ripe in flavor, this very full-bodied wine from the Sierra Foothills is a new addition to Rombauer’s Zinfandel line… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Scott Harvey 2019 Mountain Selection Zinfandel (Amador County); $29. Buy on Vivino. This fresh smelling, full-bodied and flavor-packed wine wraps bold, jammy blackberry and raspberry notes in… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Terra d’Oro 2019 Deaver Vineyard Zinfandel (Amador County); $30. Buy on Vivino. Captivating black pepper and wild-berry aromas lead to fresh, jammy fruit flavors in this very likable, distinctive and full-bodied wine… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Valravn 2019 Zinfandel (Sonoma County); $22. Buy on Vivino. This wine presents outstanding value. It was aged 14 months in French oak, mostly neutral… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Williams Selyem 2019 Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel (Russian River Valley); $65. Buy on Wine.com. Deep, enduring flavors of cherry, strawberry and blood orange give this wine a lift of brightness and verve within intriguing notes of nutmeg and white pepper… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Last Updated: July 12, 2023