Maybe you’re asking yourself, what is Zinfandel wine? Zinfandel, Zin for short, comes from the black-skinned white grape grown in California, Chile, South Africa, and Italy. This grape variety needs warm, sunny climates to thrive and grow. Zinfandel set down roots in Croatia and likely didn’t make its way to California until the 19th century. Whenever you find yourself at a wine tasting, don’t skip the Zin. It may best be known for its dry red variety, but you can also find it in the white variety that’s delectably sweet.
You’ll find two types of Zin on the market: red and white. All Zinfandel varieties come from red Zinfandel grapes, but winemakers will use the grape to create a white variety that resembles a blush wine with a pinkish hue.
Red Zin is usually dry with an intense burgundy color and a rich, juicy taste. Imagine black pepper, plum, licorice, and blackberry dancing around your taste buds with medium-to-high acidity and moderate tannins. Red Zinfandel has a higher alcohol content than the average wine—14 percent to 16 percent ABV compared to 12 percent.
You’ll find White Zinfandel in the dry or sweet varieties. It boasts lovely fruit flavors like melon, cherry, raspberry, and strawberry and has lower alcohol levels without bitterness, unlike red Zinfandel. There’s no surprise why it’s a fan favorite among new wine enthusiasts.
There are two different Zin types and unique pairings, so let’s break down these types. Red Zinfandel pairs beautifully with any variety of meat, including (but not limited to) lamb, pork, chicken, and beef. You’ll also find it suits the meat no matter how it’s prepared. Try pairing it with hardy cheese such as Manchego and cheddar. White Zinfandel is a lighter, easier-to-drink option that pairs well with seafood, pasta, and pork. It’s also an energizing contrast to the flavors and herbs in spicy dishes. Have a glass of white Zin with milder cheeses like Havarti, mozzarella, and gruyere.