Home > wine quiz, Zinfandel > Weekly Wine Quiz #59: Grape Trivia – Zinfandel

Weekly Wine Quiz #59: Grape Trivia – Zinfandel


Traditional gnarly look of old Zinfandel vines. Picture from Wikipedia.

And the new weekend is upon us, together with the wine quiz.

We are continuing the grape trivia, and we are continuing exploring the red grapes (let me know if you think it is the time to switch to the whites). Today’s subject is Zinfandel, an American star.

Zinfandel is the black-skinned grape, known as an early ripening variety and capable of accumulating very high levels of sugar – this is one of the reasons why you can often see Zinfandel wines with alcohol by volume levels easily exceeding 15%.

Story of Zinfandel is one of the most fascinating ones compare to many other grapes you can think of – considering the amount of genetic research which went into establishing the origins of Zinfandel, the amount of attention this grape received is pretty mind boggling. After many years of back and force, it is now established that Zinfandel and Primitivo (an Italian grape from Apulia) are two individual clones of Croatian grape called Crljenak Kaštelanski. As The Drunken Cyclist, a regular winner of these quizzes, pointed out in his own quiz a while back,  both Zinfandel and Primitivo are considered independent varieties and should be listed as separate varieties on the wine labels of the wines in US.

Another interesting part of the Zinfandel story is that actual powerful and seductive Zinfandel red wines as we know them now, almost became extinct at some point due to the success of sweet and insipid Pink Zinfandel wines (but please pay some respect – Pink Zinfandel still accounts for almost 10% of wine sales in US).

And now, to the quiz! As the subject is very narrow (Zinfandel is not growing all over the world), enlisting Google as your helper is totally fine (not that it was not with any of my quizzes before) – but this is up to you, of course. In any case, even if you can only answer a few questions – please do!

Q1: It was established recently that Zinfandel existed in Croatia under a different name, at least from the 15th century. Do you know what was that name?

Q2: While Zinfandel typically listed on the label, very often some other grapes are added to the blend. Name one grape which can be considered a traditional blending partner of Zinfandel

Q3: White Zinfandel was discovered by accident. Can you explain how that happen, and possibly use the proper winemaking term for the “accident”

Q4: Two California winemakers are largely credited with putting red Zinfandel wines on the wine map. Can you name them?

Q5: Most of the well known Zinfandel producers still make other wines from the different grapes. But there is one winery in California ( at least that I know of), which make nothing but Zinfandel wines. Can you name that winery?

Good luck, enjoy your weekend and cheers!

  1. June 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I always go Google free, so I only have answers for two of them. Gallo and Mondavi for 4. For 3, I think it was created by a bunch of high schoolers throwing a party when their parents were away. They took some red, some white from different bottles and added red Koolaid to make it taste better. There are three winemaker terms that come to mind – cuvée, dosage, and “janitors sneaking into the winery at night and getting loaded”. (I couldn’t spell the French translation of that last one.)

    • talkavino
      June 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Love it when you are playing : ) Excellent answers – I think I read your answer for #3 3 times already, and plan to read it again a few more times. Cheers!

  2. June 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

    OK, giving it a non-Google try too
    Question 1 – I am going to steal your reference above and say – Crljenak (can I buy a vowel?) Kaštelanski.
    Question 2 – Petite Sirah
    Question 3 – Following on the story above and I wish that i had thought of that one, I’d say that a winery owner’s young (but of legal age) daughter was having a birthday party with a princess theme. So, pink was logical. The process, therefore, is called ‘prinessification’.
    Question 4 – Ridge, Rosenblum (and/or maybe the below)
    Question 5 – Ravenswood

    • talkavino
      June 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Excellent answers! Thanks for playing! I think you might consider trade marking “prinessification” …The results are coming on Wednesday.

    • talkavino
      June 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Excellent answers! Thanks for playing! I think you might consider trade marking “prinessification” …The results are coming on Wednesday.

    • talkavino
      June 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Excellent answers! Thanks for playing! I think you might consider trade marking “prinessification” …The results are coming on Wednesday.

  3. June 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    1. Crljenak Kaštelanski
    2. Petite Sirah
    3. Sutter Home used to bleed off (saigné method) some juice from their fermenting red zin grapes early in the process so that the remaining red wine would be further concentrated (by a better juice to skin ratio). They would then ferment the bled off juice as a dry “White” Zin. One year, they suffered from a “stuck fermentation (the yeast died before fermenting the wine dry). They decided to sell the still sweet wine and it was a huge hit.
    4. I am going with Ridge and Ravenswood
    5. I will say Turley, but I know that is wrong….

    • talkavino
      June 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Excellent work, Jeff, as usual. Answers are coming on Wednesday.

  4. June 2, 2013 at 8:09 am

    1. Crljenak Kaštelanski. Say that three times fast . . .
    2. Petite Sirah
    3. Sutter Home made an accidental batch of sweet pink wine (as a result of a stuck fermentation) and it sold like wildfire.
    4. Rosenblum and Turley (just to be different).
    5. Someone who subscribes to the “do one thing and do it well” theory of winemaking . . .


    • talkavino
      June 2, 2013 at 9:46 am

      I will have a hard time deciding on your answer for the questions #5 – it is actually a very good answer 🙂

  5. June 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Zinfandel is one if my favorite wines although I am not sure I have had anything other than California Zins; however, I don’t know any of the answers.

    • talkavino
      June 4, 2013 at 5:22 am

      California Zinfandel are really the best. Do you have a favorite producer?

      • June 4, 2013 at 7:46 am

        Love both Kunde Estate and Truett Hurst – actually belong to their wine clubs, which says a lot for me. But I have only been to CA one time to tour wineries.

        • talkavino
          June 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm

          I know Kunde, but never tried their wines, and I never heard of Truett Hurst. Will have to fix that : )

  1. June 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm
  2. August 31, 2013 at 8:37 am
  3. November 30, 2013 at 9:03 am
  4. June 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: