The wines classes have started up again and I am enjoying both teaching and having a reason to try a wide range of wines again – good, bad and ugly! The past 18 months of drinking nothing but Sheldon’s wines has made me “a bit soft“ (as my Northern Dad would say)…
One of the grape varieties we cover in the class is Zinfandel and it is one of my favourites. Many people know Zinfandel because of the sweet Californian rose wine, bizarrely called ‘White Zinfandel’. This one always divides opinion on courses – the fact that Shane won’t stock it says a lot about where he stands on this one! Zinfandel grapes are used to make a deep coloured red wine. The rose was created almost by accident from juice that was bled off to make the red wines more intense. The rose is now the best selling wine in the USA!
For making red wine, Zinfandel is a really interesting grape. It needs a hot climate to ripen, California is perfect as is Southern Italy, where the same grape is called Primitivo. The grapes in a single bunch don’t ripen evenly which results in some underripe berries and some very over ripe berries at harvest time – this naturally adds instant complexity to the flavours of the finished red wines.