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Weekly Wine Quiz #59: Grape Trivia – Zinfandel

June 1, 2013 18 comments
Zinfandel_220px-Gnarly_Vines_in_Sonoma_Valley

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!

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